Saturday, March 23, 2013

'So Mike', you ask, 'what are you doing for Lent?'

Of course, you don't really ask, but I'll tell you anyway.

Prayer, fasting, and penance. I'm seriously trying to get better with my praying. I've long prayed spontaneously, many times each day, as I think of the Lord and as I face the daily joys and tribulations. Sometimes I feel as if my life is a running conversation with Him.

It's formal prayer that I have a problem with. I'm trying to pray more consistently in a formal way in the morning and evening. Parts of the Rosary especially. I've never been good at formal prayer-- I think that I have adult ADD, and I find it hard to stay focused. But I am trying.

I am seriously working on the fasting thing. I've tried juice fasts, which are quite effective and not as difficult as going cold turkey, and I've eliminated eating alone. I eat with family and friends. It works.

Penance I'm reasonably good at, because I'm neurotic by nature and punish myself a lot anyway. I'm going to confession regularly, and I count the fasting as part of my penance.

I'm also reading a couple of spiritual books. Each day I'm reading a chapter (they're short) of Kempis' Imitation of Christ. I read it several years ago, and found it profound. I'm a little further along the Christian road now, and I'm finding much deeper and richer meaning in it. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 25 of Book One:

One day when a certain man who wavered often and anxiously between hope and fear was struck with sadness, he knelt in humble prayer before the altar of a church. While meditating on these things, he said: "Oh if I but knew whether I should persevere to the end!" Instantly he heard within the divine answer: "If you knew this, what would you do? Do now what you would do then and you will be quite secure." Immediately consoled and comforted, he resigned himself to the divine will and the anxious uncertainty ceased. His curiosity no longer sought to know what the future held for him, and he tried instead to find the perfect, the acceptable will of God in the beginning and end of every good work.

Kempis' 15th century masterpiece is perhaps the most profound devotional book of the Christian faith, after the Bible. I love it, and plan to keep reading a chapter a day even after Lent.

Since the election of Pope Francis, I've begun re-reading Chesterton's biography of St. Francis. An extraordinary commentary through spiritual glasses on the Saint's life and impact on the Church and on all of humanity.

I'm usually pretty bad at Lent-- I'm nearly always disappointed at the end, because I felt I didn't do enough. This year I'm doing a little better.


or should I say


because it's Lent.

How are you celebrating (if that's the word) Lent?


  1. I observe lent by fasting during daylight hours. Only clear liquids between dusk and dawn.

  2. Well, i am preparing a Sicilian lamb stew for lunch right now. An awesome dish. I hope the visual and olfactory mental images this provokes will not increase your lentian hardship!

  3. I don't eat lamb, veal, or shellfish Troy.
    No worries here.
    I usually abstain from pork as well.
    In fact, much of meat these days is game. I have quite a few friends that hunt for meat in the winter months, and I always end up with enough nice cuts to last me through to spring.
    For my late supper tonight, I have an awesome meat sauce I made with minced wild turkey (the animal, not the bourbon) that we will have with some cannelloni.
    So I will be doing the Italian thing too - with a Canuck twist.
    It is my inspiration for the day :P

    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyMarch 23, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      I have a friend whose daughter wanted to learn how to hunt and shoot. She (the daughter) was particularly interested in turkey hunting. After she bagged her first bird, her mother decided to roast the turkey and host a dinner to celebrate her daughter's success.

      They invited some friends of the family. After grace, but before the roasted bird was served, one of her notoriously leftoid, environmentally concerned friends asked...

      "Is this turkey free-range?"

  4. I don't eat lamb, veal, or shellfish Troy.
    No worries here.
    I usually abstain from pork as well.

    I know plenty of people who feel sorry for 'young animals' like lambs and calves, so they refuse to eat them. I can sympathize with that, up to a point. What's your reason?

    I like pork, but my wife won't have it for semi-religious reasons (she thinks her "Jewish genes" make her dislike it, even though she's not religious; she's a scientist but very superstitious like that), so I don't eat it much. Just thinking about a pork shawarma sandwich makes me drool though.

    Enjoy your meal!

    1. Troy,

      A reasonable inquiry deserves a reasonable response.
      I do not eat veal or lamb because of the industry that supplies that meat. That concern is generated from the sentiments you describe: I do not like killing young or innocent creatures.
      I do eat mutton.
      I do eat beef.

      I actually just has a really nice rack in January. Roasted in mustard seed and served with mint.

      But I am selective of where I get that meat. In the case of my beef, I drive past the farm almost every day and see the cattle (both beef and dairy) grazing.
      They also sell veal, but as you have probably already guessed - I don't buy it. Ditto with lamb.
      I just don't want to create the demand - small or large - for the blood of little creatures.
      Call me a pussy, but I have seen enough death to last 10 lifetimes.
      Don't get me wrong: If it was to feed my kids or to fend off starvation I would eat whatever I had to. But while I have the choice, no thanks.

      For pigs it's a little different. It is also about the pork industry, but it also has to do with their intelligence and my love of canines. I love the flavour, but cannot abide the source of the meat.
      Nor do I think it is (in most cases) farmed in a means that is fit for human consumption.
      I do treat myself to a rash of bacon or some chops from a local butchers once in a while... but not often and never without a kind of smoker's guilt. I will be doing bacon next weekend sunday for my famiy's breakfast - so I will probably have a taste then.

      Oh and... Shawarma makes me drool too :P
      I grill chicken or turkey Shawarma quite frequently when my son brings his gal over for dinner. Nice with some rice and a cucumber salad.

      "Enjoy your meal!"
      Thanks, it was delish! Tonight's is a sage roasted hen with new potatoes.


      I just wanted to add we have some people in our family (older folks and people with diet issues etc) that have only a light meal of fruit, fish, or eggs during daylight hours. Again, only clear liquids.
      I am almost sure there is no doctrinal basis for any of this, rather it is family traditions passed on from God knows when.

      A blessed Palm Sunday!

  5. I am happy that comments on this post have been civilized up to now (I do hope this civility will continue).

    This must be a side effect of the advent of Pope Francis!

    1. @Pepe:

      I do think the Holy Father will have a very positive impact.

    2. I don't either but hope is a theological virtue. :-)

    3. Pepe:

      I DO think the Holy Father will have a very positive impact!

    4. Sorry, I misread your comment, because I don't think the civility will last for long with commenters like bachfiend, KW and troy...

      I'm getting old, I must enlarge the characters on my screen! :-)

  6. Completely off topic...

    I'm just reading this morning's 'Sunday Age', and I had to laugh at an article. That heartless Pope Francis I actually personally phoned his newspaper kiosk in Buenos Aires to cancel delivery of his daily newspaper to his modest apartment because he's no longer living there...

    I'm very impressed by this pope so far.