Lent

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Angelskates, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. Angelskates

    Angelskates Active Member

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    Lent starts tomorrow, March 9 - Ash Wednesday.

    Are you fasting? Giving anything up?

    I'm giving up coffee and chocolate again this year. I'm not addicted to either, neither has an affect on me, they don't keep me up or anything. I also won't have any side effects, no headaches or jitters. I am more "addicted" to the habit of having a coffee (I have a Nespresso machine). I also want chocolate when I see it or think about it, I don't actually crave it. I don't find either that hard to give up, so it's hard to make it worthwhile for Lent. I can't think of anything else though... any suggestions?

    I am also trying to find something to commit to for Lent this year. It doesn't need to be a daily something, or religiously based, but I'd like it to be something related to relaxing. Any suggestions here too?
  2. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    I don't really fast on the holy days or do anything super special. I renew my commitment to get exercise every day and spend more time doing meaningful things rather than staring at the tube or computer.
  3. Yehudi

    Yehudi Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm. Maybe if you have a blackberry for work, you could promise to yourself to turn it off on weekends or at night.

    Or promise that you won't stay at work past a certain hour.
    Angelskates and (deleted member) like this.
  4. Angelskates

    Angelskates Active Member

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    I have an iPhone, and it is never off. I live a long way from home and will never turn my phone off after a friend of mine did (also as a fast) and found out only the next day that her mother died :(

    I also live at work, literally ;) my bedroom is the top floor of a townhouse where I run a centre for special needs kids. It's my business, and it's new, so I do work crazy hours. I have Sundays off, which has been a mighty hard effort!
  5. Gypsy

    Gypsy Thunder & Lightning!!!

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    Here are a few ideas:

    1. Volunteer somewhere (even if it is just once)
    2. Take 1/2 hour each day to meditate & relax
    3. Try to reconnect with a family member or friend you have lost touch with.
    4. If you are angry at someone, forgive them and move on.
    5. If you have hurt someone, apologize and try to mend fences.
  6. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    I usually give up Coca Cola, but haven't committed to that yet this year. Giving up coffee would be a good idea, but it's more for me than for someone else. Sort of a selfish thing to give up - I like Coke better than coffee, lol. Since I rarely buy coffee, I'd have to set a fair price for my homebrewed DD stuff.

    I feel like doing something else, like giving up fast food on Saturdays and tithing the money to charity. It's a convenience for me, but it's money that could be used for something better. That's probably what I'll choose.

    But today, it is Mardi Gras! Pancakes for dinner with bacon or ham, plus a pseudo-Kings cake! (I should get baking, so it has time to cool before dinner.)

    Tomorrow, it's tuna-noodle casserole with Campbells mushroom soup. The only casserole my mother made that I actually liked - it's comfort food. I'm the only one who likes it now and I look forward to it every year, when I force it on the family for Ash Wednesday!

    OT: When we were in college, DH and I were in the Newman Club. One year, we went caroling with the Christian Student Society. One of the members of the other group asked if we were "A&P Catholics." My puzzled look made her laugh and she said "Guess not. Those are the ones who only go to Church on Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday, because they're giving things out that are symbolic and noticeable." I think of her every year at this time. She was really funny and friendly, lol.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
  7. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    My priest suggested that, when giving up a food item or pleasurable experience (he said one of the alter servers was pledging to give up going to the movies which he apparently does every week), we put the money we would have spent on that into a jar or envelop and at the end of lent donate it to a food pantry or other charity (Good priest, he did not mention giving it to the church).

    I am going to attempt to give up my one great food indulgence - potato chips. It might not sound like a big deal but I honestly don't know how I will manage to get through the grocery store without buying them. They seem to leap off the shelf into my cart and hide until I get home and find them skulking in the back of the trunk.

    So that's, like $2.50 - $3.00 a week into the kitty.
  8. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    My kids love filling their Mite boxes up for Holy Thursday. We never have any coins left after Lent ends, lol.

    The intent of mite boxes is to help people save money for charity by adding the money you don't spend on whatever you've given up. At all the churches I've belonged to, the mite boxes are always put towards a designated outside charity, not added to the Church's funds.

    One year, I had a mite box on my office desk and my coworkers (mostly jewish) added to it every day as a gag!
  9. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    My church doesn't do the "giving up something for Lent" thing, but every year I see other people doing it and think that I should try it. But I can never decide what to give up. :shuffle:
  10. Cupid

    Cupid New Member

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    I am giving up my one vice, red wine, and I'm going to use my treadmill every single day no matter how tired I am!
  11. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    My family bought us a washer and dryer as a wedding gift, which was a blessing for a working couple with a 90-minute commute. We decided to put $3/load into our Mite box that year to give to a local charity that helped the homeless with food, counseling and shelter.


    On a lighter note: ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgmQM9cDPHk
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
  12. CDANN1013

    CDANN1013 Active Member

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    I should give up Sheetz iced mocha for Lent, BUT I can't do that to my co-workers. They call it my nice drink.
  13. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    Giving up sweets. The first few days I will try not to be :mad: as the sugar-based high wears off....
  14. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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  15. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    Last feast tonite... jambalaya and an extra large pour of a really nice wine. Peeps for dessert!
  16. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    I've been thinking what I would give up if I were Catholic. I think it would be chocolate. It's really just a pleasure but not an addiction. I have about a square of Swiss dark chocolate a day and think it would be reasonable.

    I would have a much harder time giving up my morning cup of decaf Irish breakfast tea with milk. I feel it makes me human and functional and is a source of comfort. So given that my tea with milk is more important to me than chocolate, does it make it a more appropriate thing to give up at Lent?

    There is a movement among the hip youngish Jews in San Francisco to "uplug" on Saturdays, including cell phones, computers, other gadgets and commerce. IMO, giving up computers, TV and iPads is fine but not the cell phone. What if someone has an emergency and needs your help?
  17. Angelskates

    Angelskates Active Member

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    IceAlisa, I think too many people use computers for work - I couldn't give mine up for that reason.

    I have never heard of people putting money in a jar to give to charity at the end of Lent. I have never even heard of a Mite box until today :shuffle:

    For me, the sole purpose is to try at get closer to God and to break habits that come into conflict with this (I have a morning coffee instead of my quiet time quite a lot!), though it doesn't work very well if I find the thing/s I am giving up too easy to give up! Quite often I just find a substitute (like tea). :(

    I think I'm going to try the money this as well. I have plenty of coffee pods already, so I rarely go out to buy coffee anymore, so I might put in a certain amount of money when I have a hot drink or something else....hmmmm. Maybe I can put money in my Mite box when I think of coffee, it'll get a fair bit these first few days!
  18. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    I couldn't either for the same reason. However, this was an idea for Jews to give up computers on Sabbath only.

    What about giving up watching a favorite show? Or manicures? Are you supposed to give up something that's a pleasure or a luxury or something that's essential?
  19. Angelskates

    Angelskates Active Member

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    Either, there's not really a "supposed to". If you give up something essential, then it's not essential ;) I try an give up something I like that I have/do daily. Luxury things are way too easy for me to give up because they're so rare!

    The favourite TV show is a good idea, thanks!
  20. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Can you imagine giving up FSU????!!!!!! :eek:
  21. Angelskates

    Angelskates Active Member

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    Uh, no :lol: I would like to keep what I have left of my sanity!

    P.S. it's not only Catholics that give things up for Lent. I'm not Catholic.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
  22. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    That's right: my dad (Lutheran) also gave something up for Lent and kept a mite box with us Catholics.

    Our mite boxes as kids were small, round canisters that we wrote our names on and brought back to school before Easter break. (Catholic school) One end had a coin slot across the top. http://www.dpmurphy.com/productimages/L461.jpg

    The parish DH and I belonged to after we married was very post-Vatican II, modern and liberal. They did everything with style - lots of creative, ingenious people. One year, the Lenten Offering was a printed disk of shiny cardboard like origami - you folded until it became an octagonal box that looked like a bread basket. (Hard to describe) The Charity that year was Food for the Poor so it was a very appropriate reminder, which is why it was on my desk.

    Most parishes use small boxes because they're lighter to collect and prepare for donations. This is from an Episcopal church supply company, but a box is a box.
    http://www.ctepiscopal.org/Content/Mite_boxes.asp
  23. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    Pancakes and bacon for dinner followed by a delicious frosted cake. I hid a small plastic rabbit inside the cake before I frosted it and the daughter who helped with the baking got that slice! I don't remember what that find entails - I thought that, with a Kings Cake, the finder buys next year's cake, lol.
  24. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    My brother just posted on Facebook that it is some strange twist of fate that Saint Patrick's Day is a week after Fat Tuesday this year.

    Easter is late....

    I grew up Baptist, so I never had the concept of Lent in my brain. Now I'm Episcopal. As I understand it, the objective is to give up something as a sacrifice or do without something one holds important personally. But frankly, I think doing good deeds and giving money to good causes is a better use of resources than just giving up wine (no way) or some food we like. Then again, it's about personal sacrifice...?? Maybe somebody can explain it better to me. I'm not able to get back to church for a couple of weeks. :lol:

    Maybe I'll give up salsa.
  25. Angelskates

    Angelskates Active Member

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    Holley - For me the giving up is not really sacrificial, especially not financially motivated. It's more about the time and reason for the habit. I make time for my daily coffee, but not for prayer. So, instead of thinking of coffee and having coffee, I am trying to pray (and not necessarily the sit down kind, sometimes it will be a passing prayer like conversation with God). I've never had it related to donating money or doing good deeds; it's more about my personal relationship with God and trying to reconnect. Mine is almost always related to me wanting a better relationship with God, and praying more.
  26. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Angelskates. I understand what you are saying perfectly.
  27. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Thanks for the clarification.
  28. escaflowne9282

    escaflowne9282 Well-Known Member

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    I've decided to give up my three vices , coffee, chocolate and
    cigarettes
    .

    I hope I can last 40 days without any of this...
  29. skatepixie

    skatepixie New Member

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    Fasting, giving up leavened bread, and no meat on friday (but that's year round for me).
  30. Angelskates

    Angelskates Active Member

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    skatepixie - do you fast entire meals? How often?

    escaflowne9282 :cheer2: awesome! Will you count Sundays? (Then it's 46 days!) I always count Sundays.
  31. sk8pics

    sk8pics Well-Known Member

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    I am giving up chocolate this year. And every time I crave some chocolate, I will remind myself of the reason. A priest friend of mine told me once that giving up something small like chocolate is like practice for times when you need more discipline for bigger things. My parish always uses the Holy Thursday collection for the poor, and we also bring food items in to donate that night.

    I am also going to get to Mass one more time during the week, and on certain days I will spend some extra time in prayer, with the consciousness examen (that Ignatius of Loyola suggested). This is to look for the presence of God in my daily life, not so much to look for every little thing I do wrong.
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  32. escaflowne9282

    escaflowne9282 Well-Known Member

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    Well the last time I gave up coffee for Lent(and yes I made it all the way through), I didn't realize that Sundays didn't count, so I think I'll just do the same this time and count Sundays. So far so good;it's been (almost :p )half a day without any of my three "friends"
  33. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    I think it's easier to remember if you don't "take Sundays off from abstinence." Just sets it as a new habit.
  34. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    But abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent doesn't count for much if you either don't eat meat normally or if you really really like fish! It would be like me saying I'm giving up lima beans for Lent when I don't ever eat them to begin with. :)

    Yes, the whole concept is one of sacrifice or doing something difficult.

    My mother was a severe coffee addict all of her life. One year she decied to give up coffee for Lent. She made life so miserable for the duration that the next year the family got together and refused to allow her to give up coffee ever again on the grounds that her giving up coffee made Lent hell for everyone around her. :)

    The other thing to keep in mind is that the "rules" for fasting and abstaining only apply to those between the ages of 15 and 59 - which at the 8:15 AM Mass I go to generally excludes two-thirds of the congregation!
  35. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    To Catholics, giving up meat (and sauces, soups, etc. made with meat) on Lenten Fridays has a different meaning than the person's giving up something for Lent to make a personal sacrifice.

    http://deacongerry.blogspot.com/2011/03/catholic-tradition-lenten-fish-fries.html

    My in-laws rarely ate meat on Fridays, even after Vatican II. They would eat something like pasta e fagiolio or beans with broccoli raab instead.
  36. CantALoop

    CantALoop Well-Known Member

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    This is my first Lent ever, so between my three main vices: food, sex, and the Internet, I decided to keep it simple - No Facebook until Easter.

    I couldn't do no FSUniverse - that's just not realistic. :p:2faced:
  37. Orable

    Orable New Member

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    The information in this thread is really neat! Thanks esp to Holly, Angelskates and Figure Spins for their explanations :) I don't really know that much about Lent, so I hope you guys'll indulge me with some questions...when you guys say "fast a whole meal," what does that mean? Does that mean skipping the meal altogether, or does that mean that you have a lighter than usual meal?

    Is the point of Lent to commemorate the sacrifice of Jesus? I know Lent leads up to Good Friday and Easter, which is why I'm wondering if it's the same "holiday" so to speak. When people "fast" for Lent, does that basically mean that they're changing their diet habits, or does that refer to abstaining from an action? Can it be both? Was Lent historically about giving up food but then evolved into giving up other things?

    Finally, do only Catholics get the ash crosses on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday or do other denominations do the same?

    Thanks for answering my questions! I know, I could probably ask my co-workers (I work at an interfaith org :rofl: ) but I'd really rather not :eek:
  38. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    Can you explain more what you mean by this comment? St. Patricks Day often falls during Lent. I've remember specifically when Bishops have offered their diocese dispensation to those that eat corned beef and cabbage as part of a traditional celebration, when it falls on a Friday during Lent.
  39. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    Where I grew up, High Episcopalians also did ashes.

    As for the Lenten sacrifice, if you are familiar with Ramadan, it's the same concept, but with a lot more flexibility. During Ramadan, observant Muslims don't touch food or drink during daylight hours. During Lent, observant Catholics and some Protestants perform a sacrifice. It can be as simple as giving up candy or alcohol, or something much more complex. As our priest explained it, if you don't notice, it's not a sacrifice. Does that help?
  40. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    No problem. My answers are from my perspective as a Post-Vatican II parishioner with a liberal, modern parish. I was on the Liturgy committee for two years and I was in waaaay over my head, so I learned a lot from others. We have a lot of good friends who are Catholic priests and nuns, who are always willing to answer questions.

    Typically, it means skipping a meal, however "Fasting" in and of itself is similar to the celebration of Ramadan: you only eat a single meal during the entire day.

    The rules have changed since Vatican II. Today, during Lent, the observant fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, in accordance with the church guidelines.

    Catholics today are also asked to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent. As I said before, my parents' generation abstained from meat EVERY Friday, year-round. That changed with Vatican II.

    Also, to show self-discipline, most people "give up" something for Lent. I always understood it to be tied to a sacrifice of something meaningful that allows you to help others, but other posters have said something different. When I gave up Coca-Cola, I saved the money I would have spent in order to donate to a charity and help others.

    This one I learned from the Liturgy Committee, as I sat there feeling stupid for not knowing it before.

    The New Testament tells us that Jesus went to the desert to fast and pray for 40 days. It was a period of preparation for Him: he knew that his time on earth was coming to an end and he had to choose whether or not he was ready to accept that fate. Satan tempted him to deny it and save himself, but he resisted that temptation.

    Lent is a period (although the math is funny) where we choose to do the same preparation and soul-searching.

    Lent is about preparing spiritually for a change and being more prayful and serious about self-reflection. Many church services drastically cut the music, eliminate after-mass social gatherings, and decorations are typically sparse and low-key. I used to think it was like a period of mourning, but it's more like having a family member under hospice care.

    The food and meat connection is because they were in the desert for 40 days. They didn't hunt, they couldn't carry much food, so fasting, praying and going without was the way Jesus and his disciples prepared for his upcoming End.

    Not just Catholics, as someone else said. The ashes are symbolic that we all start as ashes and when we die, we return to ashes. That's actually the gist of the blessing that the priest/minister offers to the penetant.

    Trivia: the ashes most churches use are made from burnt Palm fronds from the prior Palm Sunday mass. At our parish, we would bring in our palm crosses and fronds to the Parish House. The Deacon would build a fire outside to turn them into ashes. (Well, it was in a hibachi grill, lol. Small, controlled fires are better in NYC.)


    Toward the end of Lent, there are four major events on the Catholic calendar:

    . Palm Sunday - commemorates the day that Jesus and his disciples rode into Jerusalem. The crowds cheered and greeted him by waving Palm fronds, like parade watchers waving flags. Churches re-enact this with their parishioners, so you'll often see a procession waving palms and singing. THis takes place on the Sunday before Easter.

    Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter go together: they're called the Easter Triduum.

    . Holy Thursday - commemorates the day that Jesus told his disciples to minister to the people who believed in him. This is often called the "Mass of the Lord's Supper." The Catholic church considers this to be the creation of the Priesthood and the first consecretion of bread and wine to represent Christ's death. Services on this day include the washing of the feet to show service and caring for people.

    After the Mass, already-consecrated bread and wine are taken in a procession to the "Altar of Repose." Which in a small church like ours meant a rental tent in the backyard. People take turns staying there to pray before the Eucharist, around the clock, to represent the Disciples doing the same for Jesus in his last hours.

    . Good Friday - this is considered the day that the Lord was crucified, at sundown. There is no consecration portion of the Mass on this day, because Jesus has died in this recreation. There is a communion service, using the hosts from the Altar of Repose. This is my least-favorite ritual: the Veneration of the Cross. UGH! I hate it - you're supposed to homage to the cross. People kiss it, lie prostrate on the floor, and some even cry. I try to avoid Good Friday whenever possible, lol.

    . Easter - just as there's a midnight mass on Christmas, there is the Easter Vigil. Churches build fires outside (with the fire department standing nearby in NYC), and the parishioners process into the church in darkness, where they are given a candle to hold. The ceremony opens by having one candle lit from the Light (bonfire) and the flame is passed from person to person, representing how faith is shared and the light can be found. One cantor proclaims a lengthy song to start the services. It's beautiful to see the light overtake the darkness in the church. I love Easter Vigil, although the Easter services at normal hours are a lot of fun. Volunteers work very hard to change the Church decorations over from dismal to overwhelmingly happy and bright: lots of flowers, the best linens and vestments. The music is always festive and top-notch. People wear their best clothes and yes, even Easter Bonnets.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
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