40 Days

I have barely put away the Christmas wrapping paper. I mean that. Just the other day I put the last roll of wrapping paper bearing the images of reindeer and Santa into my bedroom closet (which is the Place Where Everything That Doesn’t Belong in the Garage Goes to Live).

And here it is – Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent. The first of 40 days and 40 nights (or so) of sacrifice and prayer in preparation for Christ’s death and resurrection. Put away my Christmas stuff, give a brief shout-out to Valentine’s Day, and start crocheting bunnies, all within about a two week period.

Every year (as you know if you’ve been reading my blog since the beginning) I give great thought to how I’m going to live my Lent. From the time I was a little girl of 7 (the so-called Age of Reason in the Catholic Church), I have “given up” something to show God how deeply appreciative I am of Christ’s sacrifice. Because not eating chocolate and dying a painful death on the cross are so much alike.

As a little girl, I always gave up desserts. That actually wasn’t that much of a sacrifice since Mom rarely made us dessert and we always gave ourselves Sundays off. As Charlie Sheen would say, “Wow. Winning.” But that wasn’t as bad as the year that Court, probably about 10 at the time, announced he was giving up chicken for Lent. He didn’t like chicken then and isn’t a big fan now. I put the nix on that idea very quickly. That was probably the beginning of Court’s spiritual plunge.

I love the gospel of St. Matthew read at Ash Wednesday Mass.

When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door. And pray to your Father in secret. When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance so that they may appear to others to be fasting. When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that you may not appear to be fasting.

imagesIt gives me pause, and the reason is that I always wonder if I’m being a hypocrite when I start talking about what Big Thing I’m going to do for Lent. Perhaps I should just keep it to myself.

But I write a blog, and I’m certain you are all interested.

I recently read something on Facebook which said something like could you live in a cabin in the woods for 30 days with no access to your phone, your computer, your television, your iPad, or any other type of technology.

Pfff, I thought. Of course I could. As long as I can read a book, er, on my iPad. And as long as I can check Facebook every day (well, a few times a day). And as long as I don’t have to miss Downton Abbey or American Idol.

Ok, so maybe I couldn’t do it for 30 days, but maybe I could do it for one day. One day a week. One day a week for five weeks.

So, that’s my challenge. I am giving up all technology one day a week for Lent. I will post my blog on the Day of No Technology, but will then shut off my computer until the next morning. And my phone. And my iPad (except to read since all my books are ebooks).

And no sweets, every day, even on Sundays. For old times’ sake.


6 thoughts on “40 Days

  1. That’s a good one! One year when the kids were in grade school we gave up television one day a week.
    Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Court still gives up broccoli every year. 😙

  2. I’m with you on the Christmas stuff. Just LAST NIGHT I finally got all the Christmas music off my phone and my regular tunes back (I have too much music to leave it on there). Sometimes you just can’t keep up.

  3. Went to mass at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral (Omaha) this morning with colleagues before school. Fr. Gutgsell said that we need to sacrifice something in order to also give something away. He said that we are always thinking about the road on which we travel but that the Lenten road is in our hearts and from us to God. He also said to not look elsewhere for what to give-up, commenting that we all have a fairly decent list of what we “should” and “should not” be doing from which we can make our Lenten sacrifice and commitment. I loved how he put that! Also wondering how your ongoing discussion as to keeping ashes on or taking them off has gone. All of the teachers who went to mass (public school) left them on. Last, my favorite “giving up” story was that Aunt Mary Lou Jacobi gave up sweets for Lent but argued she could “eat pie because that is fruit”.

    • LOVE the ;Mary Lou story! Our priest yesterday pointed out the “keeping ashes on and being hypocrites” irony, but noted for one day — the first day of our Lenten journey — we should proclaim God’s word and then keep quiet the rest of the 40 days. We kept them on all day. In fact, we went out to dinner and I forgot I still had them on and our server (who happened to be my niece Maggie) commented.

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