Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Yearly Lenten Quandary

I've been abstaining from various things in observation of Lent for several years.   This year, I chose chocolate and Facebook.  Adios, friends (the chocolate and Facebook, not my actual friends on Facebook)!  I intend to keep this vow to God for the entirety of Lent. 

I'm already struggling in this first week of Lent.  All day long, every time the boys do something funny or I think of something (I think) is witty or interesting to say, I can't post it.  I even wanted to post some of my thoughts about giving up Facebook for Lent!  Also, I miss knowing what everyone else is doing.  And I miss news and hearing about deals that I might "miss out on."  I wonder if someone has posted something important and not sent out an email or text.  In reality, I'm probably not missing much of anything.

I miss the chocolate when I'm on the prowl for a snack and I can't eat a tootsie roll.  And when I pour cereal for the boys and a cookie crisp falls on the counter and I can't pop it in my mouth!  Don't forget (oh, how could I?!) about the package of Mega Oreos hidden in the cupboard that I bought in case the "limited edition" run is gone from stores at Easter. 

I sometimes think I just want to give up giving things up for Lent.  What's the big deal, right?  And then I think, I made a deal with God and I want to say, "Sorry, God.  Giving up Facebook is just too hard."  Yeah.  Not such a good idea.

Every year, however, the question of "Sundays off" arises.  I get the Little Easter concept of all Sundays as a time of rejoicing that the Christ is risen.  I get that Lent is 46 days when Sundays are counted.  I just feel like it's cheating to break from Lent on Sundays.  For me, personally, I think Facebook and chocolate are not required to celebrate or feast on a little Easter.  (Mmmmm... chocolate...)

So, I took to the world wide web to find out if any church had an official stance that I could find.  I mostly found Catholic links and the best explanation I found was here

Also, according to a BBC page, the western church excludes Sundays and the eastern church does not.

I try to avoid searching for the answer on sites like because everyone and their brother answer over there, which leads to some interesting answers.  I did check a couple of those pages for this Lenten quandary though, and found some humorous replies. 

"No...40 days with out is 40 days without,,not 36 or anything like that.if you take Sundays off between now and when lent is over.."  Well, yes 40 days is 40 days, unless it's 46 days, which Lent is.

My favorite: "I don't know what you mean...Lent is a day where you're not allowed to eat meat and I think that was on Ash Wednesday last week...But again, I don't know what you mean."  Then *why* are you attempting (and failing) to answer the question?!

And many thanks, Lord, for this reminder.  "...your discipline or fast is also not something you do strictly by will-power. The point is that you will be turning to God for help in keeping your fast - you can't do it without Him."  Which I guess is the whole point, deepening one's relationship with our Creator.