Dudes. We have a Problem. We have Trouble right here in (not) River City and it starts with an L and rhymes with Lent.
Lent starts in seven days for Eastern Christians following the Gregorian calendar and in nine days for Western Christians following that same calendar. Lent starts in seven days for me.
Cue the panic.
See, here’s the thing. Lent snuck up on me this year. Easter is “early” this year…although I feel weird saying that because it makes it seem like Jesus is rising from the dead earlier than previously planned/scheduled. But I digress.
Lent is beginning a mere nine days after the official end of the Christmas season. And while I’ve done some tentative thinking about what I want to do with my Lent this year, I’m not really certain what I want to do.
I know that I want to give up swearing. It’s become a real problem in my life, and it’s something I need to walk away from. However, it’s become a habit, and I need some serious grace to walk away from it. So, I know that I want to give up swearing. Now I have to figure out how to replace the swearing.
I also know that I want to pray for my students. And I think that this is (God willing) a way for me to replace the swearing. When I’m tempted to swear, I want to try to offer up a prayer either for all of my students or for a particular student who needs extra prayer.
However, I know that won’t totally get rid of the swearing, so I’m also looking for way to replace the shocked (pain/upset/shock) swearing. I’m looking at finding random words (like ash nazg…) to train myself to use.
But all of this will take grace.
The other sacrifice I want to make this Lent is giving up buying coffee/lattes/hot chocolate outside of the house. It’s a money drain. I did this during Advent, and it seemed to be good for me. In the end, I decided to donate the money I would have spent on lattes to my church. I’d like to do this again. It’s not a big sacrifice, but it’s a good one for me to make.
So those are my planned “big” sacrifices. I’ll continue with traditional fasting and abstinence as well as attending weekly Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts at my church. I might also look into making some sacrifices in my musical listening during Lent, but that’s not set in stone yet.
But my other annual Lenten pursuit is a book to read during Lent. I started this maybe four or five years ago. I picked a special book to read for my morning devotional that would help me to draw closer to Christ during Lent. I’ve read St. Francis DeSales’ Introduction to the Devout Life, Elisabeth Elliot’s Path of Loneliness, The: Finding Your Way Through the Wilderness to God, Papa Benedetto’s Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration and Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection.
But this year, I don’t know what to read. I already own Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, but it doesn’t seem like a very Lenten book to me. I’ve considered looking for something by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta or St. Francis DeSales. But nothing is really sticking out to me. And with seven days until Lent, I’m starting to panic about what book(s) I ought to read during Lent. Maybe I ought to read something about peace?
Please leave any and all Lenten book recommendations in the comments. Additionally, please feel free to comment about your own personal Lenten traditions.