Lent is now over. Each lent I enter into the spirit and look within about what I should do. I know some people give up chocolate or alcohol and I’ve done those as well, but each year is different. One year I ate Vegan during lent, giving up my favorite cheeses and Big Macs. I learned to focus on the huge variety of foods that I could eat rather than what I couldn’t. It was a great lesson.
Another year I read the Liturgy of Hours like priests and religious are called to do. It brought in a new respect for all the prayers they are immersed in and the time commitment it takes.
Another year I gave up the Internet. It was like giving up an addiction and I felt the withdrawal symptoms and experienced all the mind chatter about why it wasn’t a good idea to do this particular thing. I learned I could unplug, get rid of the anxious jitters, and enjoy nature more.
Another year I gave up buying things. No new purchases during lent. No eating out for fast food or in restaurants either. Every day I was tempted in various ways to break lent but I learned to make do with what I had.
Another year I gave up using credit cards. Only cash purchases. Even at the gas pump. That felt so weird and seemed like it took so much extra time to pay for gas inside the store. But it brought back a human component to every purchase because there was more interaction. I loved the bonus of not having to pay any credit card statement that month.
This year I wasn’t asked to give anything up. The Spirit called me to read the bible every morning at the beginning of each day. I thought that would be a cinch but almost everyday I caught myself getting ready to check Facebook or email and I had to set the computer aside and pick the bible up.
I’m not unfamiliar with the bible. I’ve listened to it on tape, I’ve read it through, and I listen to it every day at Mass. But this would be different, I’d go where ever my heart felt led. I’ve heard a joke about randomly picking bible passages for inspiration – one time a man wanted a message from God and picked up the Bible – the first passage he turned to said “Judas hung himself” – that frustrated the man so he turned to another passage and it said, “go and do likewise” – pulling his hair out, the man turned the page one more time and the passage read, “quickly, go and do what you must do.”
I wasn’t sure what to expect but each morning was like a mystery, with the bible teaching me:
Day 1 I turned to Mt. 4:18, a passage calling the disciples to Jesus. That gave me goosebumps.
Day 2 1Tim 6:1, a passage that masters are worthy of full respect.
Day 13 was the feast of the chair of St. Peter and it’s the only time I opened to 2Peter 2:10-14 where Peter denounces false teachers. More goosebumps.
Holy Thursday and the last supper and I turned to Psalm 89:20-38 “you spoke in vision to your faithful ones.”
The last day of lent, Saturday, the day before Easter, Luke 4:1-15 … Jesus was led into the desert for 40 days, at the end the devil tempted him, Jesus overcame and came out of the desert in the power of the Spirit. More goosebumps.
Easter Sunday Esther 4:Chapter D 1-16 … Esther took off her penitential garments and was arrayed in royal attire and went to the King. What an amazing passage for Easter Sunday.
It feels like I entered a mystery of communion and sweetness with God this lent. How grateful I am for the discipline on lent and the lessons it teaches. How did you spend the past 40 days?