I realize that I’m posting this a bit late, but I just thought about it in the last couple of days, so better late than never, right?
I’ve mentioned here that I grew up Catholic, but I’ve been Protestant now for 11 years (and periodically attended a Christian church for the 4 years that Matt and I were dating prior to that). I’m not anti-Catholic, but I am very much happy to be where I am, learning what I am, and raising my children this way.
Something that I miss about Catholicism is the practice of Lent. For reasons that I can only hypothesize (or probably Google) about, most Protestant churches don’t practice Lent.
Growing up, I definitely did not look forward to Lent. Giving up things I love? Yeah, no thanks. I was cool with doing extra things (almsgiving) during Lent (going to church more, volunteering more time, etc.) but definitely didn’t dig the fasting and doing without something I love. I was taught the “why”, but it just didn’t truly sink in for me.
Now, though, I get it. And I’m ready to teach my kids about Lent, even though our church doesn’t participate. I’m not reverting entirely to the way that Catholicism practices Lent, as I don’t think it’s a sin to eat meat on Fridays. I’m not a theologian, but that’s my two cents.
Lent is about reflection and repentance and being honest with yourself about where your heart is. Where your attention is focused. If sacrificing something you love for 40 days doesn’t make you into a hateful, difficult-to-be-around person, and instead helps you focus on Christ and be a witness to others, then I think it’s a good thing to do for Lent. If it does make you into a hateful, difficult-to-be-around person, what kind of witness are you for your faith? If doing something extra, be it giving of your time or money, helps you focus on Christ, then I think it works, too.
Obviously, these are just my thoughts, and this might not jive well with all of you, but there it is. I’m going to give this a go again for the first time in at least 10 years, and I believe it’s going to involve not drinking soda (something that I’ve already cut back on significantly, but is still a treat) so pray for me.