This past Wed. was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season for Catholics. Many of us spend time up to Ash Wednesday debating over what type of thing/things we will give up for the 40 days of Lent. Instead of giving up something completely, we are going to make changes and make sure we are following all the rules of lent..such as no meat on Fridays, and we are even going to try to have dinner at the church on Fridays if Bill is home in time. We are going to only eat on big meal a day and snack on uncooked fruits or veggies the rest of the day. We are only going to drink water during the day, but at dinner we can have what we want (though no sugar or soda). We are going to go for a family walk when Bill gets home unless the weather is bad. We have turned off the TV and Internet time is limited to checking weather, news, and updating the family blog. We are also going to read a passage from the bible for each night of Lent, discuss them together. There is a list of great ones to read for Lent at www.AmericanCatholic.org under the Feb. 2007 Catholic Update.
Even at all we are going to do, I have to say that the following passage by Mark E Thibodeaux, S.J. is inspirational and everyone should do their best to observe this kind of "fast". What better way to glorify God and the sacrifice of his only Son by performing the acts of kindness he would want us to always give?
'Lent is a time of prayer, penance, and of course, fasting. But what type of fasting should I do? One of my favorite Lenten Scriptures passages is Isaiah 58: " This rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound, setting free the oppressed and homeless, sharing your bread with the hungry, clothing the naked and not turning your back on your own" As difficult as it is for me to give up candy bars and to pray for ever-longer periods of time, I find Isaiah's type of fasting an even greater challenge. To concretely reach out to those in need-to actually reach out to real homeless people, prisoners and even to those of "my own" whom I've imprisoned in my heart through rejection, negligence or being judgmental-this would make for a far more difficult Lent. Every Lent we are invited to meditate on Scripture. But this Lent, I also invite you to set about tasks which lead to greater reconciliation with God and others, and especially with those who are on the "outs" whether in society or people closer to home.'
St. Anthony Messenger press