#03 The Fast That I Choose
Well Lent is once again upon us and like a good procrastinator I decided to write a blog post instead of doing my homework…but that’s okay because I have all weekend and I did start some of it already…
So Wednesday marked the beginning of my Lent as I went the traditional Roman Catholic route, but I think I’ll start with Mardi Gras. For those of you who don’t know, Mardi Gras in French literally means Fat Tuesday (Mardi = Tuesday, Gras = Fat). It’s the day before Ash Wednesday so that we Catholics can eat everything we are going to be giving up for Lent before the fast begins. I ate enough this year to last me a while! So then the decision of what to do/what to give up comes into play. Well, as Cherie has already said, we have a Lenten commitment to blogging this season (and hopefully continuously as well). My personal goal for blogging is at least once a week so you are all welcome to hold me to it! I have also decided this Lent to give up chocolate and junk food and to start attending daily mass again! I will tell you that I’ve given up chocolate basically every year during Lent and it does NOT get easier! Haha as for the junk food, there are specifics, but it would be too ridiculous to list and the no chocolate for me is a bigger thing but I would like to say that I include soda in there so don’t let me have any! Attending daily mass is something I used to do summers in high school and occasionally through college and I’ve been trying to get back to it since mass is at 8 and work doesn’t start until 9 that should be easy for me but I had become lazy and forgot what was more important. But I really mean it when I say that these past three days have been AMAZING and absolutely inspiring!! Beginning my day with mass makes the entire day so much better and I really feel good about it. This morning’s mass in particular really spoke to me and made me want to make another commitment for Lent, but it might just be something I try and do when I can. Both the reading and the Gospel were about fasting but what really stood out was in the reading:
“Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking off every yoke? Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry, bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own flesh?” – Is 58:6-7
It made me really reflect on a retreat I was on in college where we spent Friday-Saturday night experiencing homelessness and Sunday in Thanksgiving. It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had where we were forced to give up everything other than a backpack and the clothes on our back, not keeping anything of monetary value other than clothes. No electronics, no money, and no where to stay. We had a sleep out on campus but Saturday was spent in churches, thrift shops, the mall, and a soup kitchen talking to people who were actually homeless and experiencing it as well. It was so inspiring but one of the best moments to me was when we arrived back downtown and still had about an hour before the soup kitchen opened. Most public places were closed so we were in the square basically loitering when two of my small group members were approached by a homeless man who asked them for money. Honestly we had no money, but after a full day of experiencing what this person experienced probably every day they felt moved to find something. They came to me since I had about two NutriGrain bars left from the nice youth group that brought us breakfast and the bars as a snack so we gave those to him. To us, it wasn’t much. We were on a school retreat and knew that we had a meal coming soon; but to him it was a meal. The experience was so amazing and I think it humbled us all.
Today, as I was reflecting on it I realized that I still want to do more to give back. As Trouty already commented, we are spoiled having so much when others have so little. I think giving up that second helping is really a great idea. I would love to volunteer at a soup kitchen again. It could be a very educational experience and I could meet all kinds of people. There are too many people in our own country that go hungry or without shelter. And it’s just getting worse as the economy and finding a job gets worse. God Bless us all and Bless those who have none that they may find comfort in Him and that we who have can give to those who have not.
P.S. Have a Blessed Lenten season