I anticipate this Lent, with only increasing hope and joy, as in the last 10 years.
Before, I dreaded Lent, as while I was raising 8 children, I did not know how I would survive without chocolate. I remember once I called Brian in desperation to give me permission to have some chocolate, because I was going crazy with some child issue. Now, I would have known better than to give up chocolate. Instead I would find something else to sacrifice. In all honesty, I understand now that mothering and homeschooling 8 children is a 24/7 Lent, if done with love and patience.
But now at 51 years, I have a little better understanding of holy journeys, like Lent.
I actually look forward to and appreciate this time of cleansing and purifying and repentance.
Indeed,I wish a "happy Lent" to all!!!
I had been thinking of doing some really great penance in association with all the blessings we have, ie, like sleeping on the floor one night a week, because I/we have a really great bed. (Disclaimer, we did not buy this bed. It was given to us when my husband was laid off last year from his store selling beds.)
Brian and I are already fasting on bread and water for 1 1/2 days a week. This Lent I want to increase that to 3 days.
We will also be praying weekly with the 40 days for Life campaign at a local Planned Parenthood clinic. This is good.
Yes, there will be increased prayer and Mass. Necessary!
And joyfully I have given a "coin" to one in need. I am not even going to say how much. Hopefully I will become forgetful quick so I do not become puffed up.
But so far on this second day of Lent, our greatest Lenten "practice" just moved out.
Let me explain. We met Eric at the Eucharistic Chapel. He looked in need. He did not want anything. So I gave him our number and said to call us when he needed us. 2 months later he called, saying he needed a place to stay. Brian offered him a week to stay with us. I am so glad Brian was so generous to open our home to a homeless man!!! It meant we got to see the face of Christ, up close and personal. Every time I offered Eric a cup of tea, I offered it to Jesus. When I helped care for his wounded finger, I helped Jesus. When I encouraged Eric, I was actually encouraging Jesus.
We recognized that Eric was becoming very happy in our home. Good and bad. Good because we bathed him in love and security. Bad in that it kept him from growing or advancing his own independence, which is so necessary for self respect.
In all honesty, I wish I could have kept Eric here. Brian and I discussed how he is more like a young teen in his reasoning abilities than a middle aged man. Drugs and a tough childhood may have contributed to all of this. Eric never complained. He did not talk much, but would come out with random thoughts at odd times.
Brian said he would be perfect in a monastery as a porter or gardener. He fit right into our prayer life, which is almost monastic in regularity, but not in quality.
One of the Corporal Works of Mercy is sheltering the homeless......and we did that!
It was grace from God that we were open to doing it and that we actually did it and with no regrets!!
I remember a saying that went something like, 'give until you are uncomfortable'. I think if might be better phrased as 'give beyond your comfort level'. I know what that is like now..........and I would do it again.