The season of Lent begins tomorrow, with Ash Wednesday, and I’m taking a different approach this year. Usually I try to give up doing something, make a sacrifice— truthfully, I typically use Lent to try to break one of my bad habits by replacing it with a simple prayer. For example, every time I would want to chew my fingernails, I would try to catch myself and pray for help instead. But frankly that hasn’t worked very well, I usually do a bad job, and in almost every case, I’ve gone right back to the bad habit after Easter . . .
This year, my Lenten resolution is to pray as often as possible and focus on adoration rather than supplication. I intend to work on being more thankful and reverent, rather than asking for something that will benefit me. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for – I’ve got a happy and healthy family, and all of our material needs are met – so for me this Lenten season will be a time not to ask for more, but to be appreciative for what I’ve already got. I’d like to believe that I could do something very structured, like say the “Glory Be” every hour on the hour, but within the demands of teaching and parenting I don’t see that happening.
Even though many people think about the enjoyable aspects of Mardi Gras – that last opportunity to blow it out before we spend forty days in more somber practices – the important stuff really starts tomorrow. Just like any other Catholic, I went to the Mardi Gras parade, waved and hollered, and caught beads and Moon Pies and stuffed animals— it was a lot of fun. But the work part of being a Christian begins tomorrow. I still intend to try to do a better job of behaving myself during Lent, but this time my emphasis will shift a little bit.