It's the question of the day and as on most Ash Wednesdays I am still deciding. It isn't that I don't have ideas, I have a ton, but it's that none of them seem to be enough.
As a child, it seemed odd that going 40 days without candy had anything to do with the crucifixion. I understood that a little sacrifice was a way of imitating and joining my suffering to the cross, but T.V. and thorns are not even closely related. This does not even begin to touch on the vanity aspect and Lent becoming a weight loss plan.
This year I had a priest explain the purpose of fasting in such a way that it finally clicked. He said we fast and abstain from something little so that we can train ourselves to say no to something easy and grow in our willpower and strength so that we can say no to something bigger that is or can lead us to vice.
Practically speaking this made so much sense. I can easily order decaf instead of regular, sure I will crave the real deal, but it is feasible to put one word in front of my order or pick up a different box. The discipline will help me grow to be able to do something harder, such as remembering to ask myself if the items in my shopping cart are needed, edit my purchases, and focus on the joys in life beyond material goods. This harder choice of focusing on immaterial goods, opens a place for the ultimate good in my heart.
And that is what Lent is all about.
What are you giving up for Lent?
Post 3 for Seven in Seven.