Sooooo obviously my whole "regular blogging" thing hasn't worked out so far...and there's no start in sight now that My Little Man has entered the world and desires my undivided attention. (What he doesn't know is...sometimes I think about ice cream! Ha ha! Take that, task master! You can't control me!) But MLM is currently on an outing with the rest of the household--one I am missing because of (hopefully) passing stomach grossness. So here, ladies and gents (can I say that? do multiple males peruse my scanty posts?), are a few recent thoughts.
...abouuuuut Lent! Surprise! Nobody else is writing about that, I know. So unique. But I'm going to do the coolest Lenten meditation blog of all: I will say nothing original, only flotsam I've gathered from other sites (primarily Women for Faith & Family), perhaps with a little comment.
Item 1. The word "lent" comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "lencten" which refers to the lengthening days of Spring. Oh those Anglo-Saxon--they have a word for everything. "Lent" may sound dreary and dark, and draw up images of aceticism, sackcloth and ashes, and foregoing ice cream for a whole 40-day period. But actually it means that light and warmth are ever increasing, that each day the sun dawns earlier and burns longer for us. It also means that the days of regular trips to Rita's are fast approaching. (Can I get a shout-out for March 6?!)
Item 2. The 40 days of Lent especially commemorate Christ's 40 days of fasting, prayer, and temptation in the desert, in preparation for His earthly ministry. Personally, I can't think of anything that induces temptation like fasting (except maybe perpetual indulgence...one of those "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenarios, life...). And then on top of that, Jesus has to deal with a social call from Lucifer. And what does Our Lord say? Not "well maybe if the stones turned into ice cream..." which would have been perfectly understandable, especially as I am led to believe it was a very hot day. No, he whoops de Debil all up and down with some very apt Scriptural quoths. Good egg--and in a "famished" state (says so, right in the Gospel According to St. Matthew). Usually my famished mood leans toward the petulant. But I guess Lent is supposed to whoop me up and down a bit, so I learn not to follow "I'm famished" with "so give me whatever I want"...but perhaps something a little more charitable.
Item 3. Lent prepares us for the commemoration of the Passion and the 50-day-long hoorah of the Easter season. Idn't that just like the Almighty Father? "Now you're going to spend a little time learning about love. Then, as a special treat, I'm going to sacrifice my only Son for you, give you eternal life and peace, and throw you a big party! Sound good?"
Item 4. Some other Biblical periods of 40, for your consideration: the rainy days of Noah's flood (after 120 years--40 times 3--of ark-building and preaching); the years the Israelites wandered in the desert between the Exodus and arriving in the Promised Land; Elijah's fast on Mount Horeb before the visit of the still, small voice; the peroid of clemency in Jonah's prophecy of the destruction of Ninevah. Think about the themes these stories protray, and you'll find practicing Lent an excellent way to live out the life of the 40: purification, waiting on God's faithfulness and redemption, close communion with God, seeking Him out, His awaiting our response to His call to repentence, and of course our repeated returnings to Him (however grand or small)--what RC folks call "continuing conversion".
Now the only question is how to keep up even the smallest acts of Lenten devotion for 40 whole days. I'd appreciate any practical tips you've got for that. On this, my third awareness of the Lenten season--I won't say "observance" because I can't pretend I even got past week 1 with any consistency--I find a pleasant familiarity with its rhythms; ironic, as that familiarity is itself a new feeling...but I'd really like to make some actual progress this year. You know, something beyond feeling guilty every Sunday as I am reminded it's Lent for the first time in a week by the seasonal markers in Mass, and promptly forgetting again Monday morning. I've got that down. I'm up for something new.