Friday, February 8, 2008

Dialing Down for Lent

About a week ago, I began noticing how frenetically devoted Catholic websites and parishes are to ensuring that I have lots to do during Lent. It's as if I'm a cranky toddler, the Lenten journey is a 40-day car trip, and the Mother Church doesn't want me to be bored.

If I responded to every call to participate, my calendar would be jammed on a weekly basis with Stations of the Cross, Lenten Vespers, Taize prayer, soup-n-salad suppers, labyrinth walks, and opportunities to ramp up my community service. I could also pencil in a parish Seder, a Tenebrae service, a parish penance service, and a special day of prayer for women -- before even getting to the Triduum.

This year I've decided to dial down for Lent. I'm going to keep it simple and will reveal more about my key Lenten practice in another post. And no, I am not referring to working on the fabulous paint-by-number version of DaVinci's "Last Supper" that I found at Tuesday Morning for $9.99.


  1. Meredith, I admit it is overwhelming but how nice it is to have all these spiritual offerings; the rest of the year lacks this emphasis except for Advent. However,
    Advent's offerings have to compete with the Christmas parties whereas there is no competition this year (except sports, for those who care about them).

  2. Well, yes. The spiritual offerings are great and I'm forever chatting up the value of doing practices *all* year.

    I probably should have been more clear about how I think it's better to embrace one (or two?) of these practices fully and deeply rather than trying to do them all.

    Way too many folks at parishes I visit complain about being exhausted during Advent and Lent. When I ask a bit more, I discover that they're trying to do everything. Overachievers!

  3. LOL! If you were dragging two toddlers and several recalcitrant older kids, you'd definitely keep it simple. After several disastrous Lents where I tried to involve our family in the Lenten circus ride, we now do the whole thing at home with our family and that's it. (except for Mass, of course)

    I wonder what excuse I will come up with when my birdies fly the nest? I think it is me that just wants some peace and quiet...

  4. Lenten. Circus. Ride.
    What word does not go with the others?!?


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