You mentioned your bracket last week and I was incredibly impressed that you worked around Good Friday worship to accommodate the Virginia game on Friday night. Well done. So, how did you do in the Forty Day Lenten Smackdown? How did your Lenten bracket do? For my part, I have been impressed to read many deep, sensitive posts this week about people’s deep, sensitive Lenten experiences and reflections. This is not one of those posts.
This year, I made it to at least the Elite Eight of Lent before illness and issues leveled me. The bacon thing was a little too easy, surprisingly, and will be eliminated from the rotation next year. Adding a new daily Mass was almost impossible with limited weekday Mass times around here that do not coincide with the kids’ school schedules. That one may stay. Adding in more prayer was a snap with my new favorite app – The Angelus from Magnificat. My husband did question why the sound of tolling bells was coming from my phone when I was recovering from surgery, though.
My favorite daily Lenten site subscription service, Whattogiveupforlent.com, kept me on my toes. I have no idea who is behind this site but they quote Pope Benedict and it seems pretty Catholick-y. You can have Daily Sacrifices emailed, Tweeted or posted to your Facebook page for extra accountability. I went with anonymous email. For the most part, the sacrifices were small, do-able things that kept you mindful of the Lenten season without being overly-dramatic. One was “clean or organize something you have been putting off.” When I was laid up, I couldn’t do most of the suggestions but it was definitely a fresh take on Lent. Others included listening only classical music or other relaxing sounds throughout your day (kids fighting = fail), “Donating” one hour of your time to helping someone accomplish one of their goals (cleaning the hamster cages = fail – I still maintain hamsters can have the goal of a clean cage), and introduce yourself to and get to know someone who does a service for you (NB, do not try this in the packed Chik-Fil-A line – at 10:30 a.m?).
Participants are encouraged to suggest a Daily Sacrifice and it might be included on next year’s list. I can’t help thinking this is a grave miscalculation I am going to suggest the following:
Make only right turns today to get where you are going. Make sure to obey all traffic signals if you are doing this while driving.
Dance down at least one hallway today.
Eat only quinoa and kale today.
This last week of Lent, I did think I might have a chance to be successful- break into the Final Four despite all my setbacks. After a couple of weeks of not being in my car and not being able to do anything but watch “The People vs. OJ Simpson,” I finally got back to my satellite radio and app this week so I could listen to The Catholic Channel. Piety here I come. And… watch out… spiritual attack! It never comes when you’re expecting it. And from Pathways of Learning, hosted by the darling and almost comically earnest Sister Marie Pappas and one of the most benign radio shows ever. So imagine how stunned I was when I heard sister’s female guest come out with this: “Our time after Communion is like being in the afterglow of the marital act and we should speak words of love…” Huh? It was a “When Harry Met Sally” moment: “I’ll have what she’s having!”
Probably not the metaphor I would have gone with. Now, I don’t know how Communion is served at your church, but at ours, it is a pretty staid affair, not likely to get the heart aflutter in that special way. What on earth is happening at this woman’s parish? Have mercy. I have a long history of laughing inappropriately in church and this is not going to help. It fact, it will probably be worse than when my mom gave my brother and me the stink eye during Holy Week circa 1981 for shouting “We-wease Bawabbas!” from Monty Python’s Life of Brian during the Passion. There I will be on Easter Sunday, trying to maintain an air of dignity and piety for my children, and all I will be thinking is: “Marital act (snicker). Afterglow (snicker, snicker).”
Hopefully my laughter will be put down to Easter Joy. Alleluia! He is risen!
And go ‘Hoos!