preparing for Lent - part one

i was raised roman catholic.

i went to catholic elementary and high school.

i got my teaching certification from a catholic college.
i taught in a catholic school.

do i consider myself religious?  no

i am now a lutheran and my children go to public school.  we don't pray before meals or even before bed.  i was amazed when my son recited the Our Father during mass b/c i never taught him it.  i teach high school sunday school - but i'd hardly call it teaching.  i'm lucky if 2 kids show up and we just sit and talk.  my boys go to sunday school - but not regularly.  they are there to receive their sacraments - but i think its mainly to satisfy my catholic parents.  the other day my oldest son told me he didn't believe there really was an adam and an eve that started civilization.  i told him he was right. 

i teach my boys to respect differences and to help others.

i believe in sitting quietly and looking inward for answers.

i think a lot of problems can be solved by simply being nice.

do i consider myself spiritual? yes

but i will admit - i really miss the "religious" part of holy days.  i have very fond memories of all the rituals and excitement leading up to Christmas and Easter.  don't get me wrong - at the time it was a nitemare - weekly mass, confession, incense so thick you thought you'd faint (and often pretended to just so you could leave mass and go outside), constant prayers and endless songs, and so much kneeling!!

but when Christmas came - it meant something. 

and so did Easter.

and honestly i miss that.

Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent.    Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter.  Lent runs for 40 days.  it is that long to symbolize the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness before he began his public ministry.  during that time Jesus prayed and fasted and was tempted by Satan. 

i remember Lent being a time to give up something.  it was like the opposite of a new year's resolution.  on new years day you came up with a list of stuff you were going to do - like work out and eat right.  during Lent you gave up stuff - like candy and soda.    what they do have in common though is that they are both usually broken after a couple of weeks.  i remember not eating meat on friday and stations of the cross every thursday.

as i got older i didnt like the idea of giving up something.  i became a vegetarian so giving up meat was hardly a sacrifice.  so i decided i would DO something good instead during those 40 days.  but lets face it - i'm really a good person anyway - so that didn't work either.  i found myself searching for the meaning of Lent.

and that is where i still find myself searching for what Lent means to me.  i've been thinking about this for a couple weeks now.  i figure i have 2 more days to figure it out..................


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