The Donegal Express

The calling of the Rosary
Spanish wine from far away
I’m a free born man of the USA

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

I am the most wanted man on my island; but I'm not on my island. More's the pity.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Crux mihi certa salus.
Crux est quam semper adoro.
Crux Domini mecum.
Crux mihi refugium.

The Cross is my sure salvation.
The Cross I ever adore.
The Cross of my Lord is with me.
The Cross is my refuge.


Non-Catholic readers, you may skip past this one.

Are they gone?


As all of you should know, Lent is fast approaching. Please notice the emphasis on "fast". It's time for another Lenten season, and most of you are going to totally blow it off.

Knock it off, already! Can't you people settle down for like, six weeks and think beyond petty every day stuff? Is it so hard not to go out to eat, or hit the bars? Can you possibly squeeze in one prayer, just one, more than you usually do a day. For many of you that would bring the prayer level up

Now I can hear some of you starting to grumble. I've seen the half-hearted attempts at observing Lent. I know, it's hard. It's not very fun. It's a downer.

And I'm sure that whole "Crown of Thorns" thing was a real picnic too.

Let's put this in perspective, ok? The Prince of Peace came down to earth, and suffered a grotesque, horrific death for our sakes. That's the short form.

First, He was captured by the Temple Guards, beaten, and subjected to a kangaroo court. After the court found Him guilty, another beating was thrown upon Him. Then he was jurisdiction shopped between King Herod and Pontius Pilate. Finally, Pilate had a terrible beating placed upon Him.

They whipped Him with sticks.

They tore His Flesh with cruel devices of torture.

They beat Him until His Ribs showed.

They mocked and spit on Him, then wove a helmet of inch thick thorns which they pounded into His Skull.

Oh yeah, after that they marched Him up a hill, drove nails through His Arms and Legs into a big freaking piece of wood, and hung Him till He died.

Now here comes the good part. The worst part of all that torture and death and whatnot was the fact the He was carrying /our/ sins. The sins of all of us. Each time we screwed up, each time we didn't think, each time we didn't /care/; we weighed down His Footsteps that much more. The greatest agony He carried was our ingratitude.

So just maybe you could keep that twinkie out of your mouth until Easter Sunday. Waddya think?

At this point, I'm figuring the only people still reading are those who actually have a slight interest in making their Lent less of a joke. In that spirit, I offer the following guidelines:

1. Buy a rosary. Use it.

2. Buy a scapular. Use it.

3. Don't go out for dinner. For a few weeks, just head on home and make yourself something to eat.

4. Just have a pastry and juice for breakfast. Have an apple for lunch.

5. Lay off the nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol.

6. Eat a carrot, skip the meat.

7. Refrain from movies and TV; substitute prayer or spiritual reading instead.

The preceding was in ascending order of difficulty. Think of it as exercise, people. Don't try to jump in and do all of them at once. Unless you have iron discipline, you will fail. Start small this year, try a few of the steps above. Add to it each Lent. When you get down to it, it's not so tough. Tough is dragging a large piece of wood to your execution, all the while being kicked and beaten.

Finally, I'd like to address one final thing. Over the last few years, there has been this big emphasis on community work as a focus of Lent. Avoid this like the plague, it's a bad, bad idea.

While working at a soup kitchen or cleaning up a park is a good thing, it is not a Lent thing. Lent is about a person's personal penance and conversion. Christ himself tell us not to make a big deal to others about our personal fasting (Matthew 6:16-18). If we fast secretly, God will bless us openly. Making a point of making your Lenten observance public defeats that. Secondly, it's an encitement to pride. You shouldn't be making your observance in a way that makes people notice how "good" you are. Finally, you should be doing some of these things anyway. Catholics are called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc etc all year long.

That is all.


Blogger Rebecca said...

Would you consider submitting this to the Catholic Carnival I'm hosting this week?? Please ?? :) It's an excellent, straight-shooter of a post.

11:48 PM  
Blogger Philothea Rose said...

That was excellent and humorous as well. And it certainly was a straight-shooter. I agree completely with your post. Personally, I have had some experiences this past week that have really made me look at Lent the way you describe, and I am really looking forward to this Lenten season.

10:44 AM  
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