How Not To Do Lent
Let's go over a few ways NOT to do Lent.
1. Ignore it. Just forget about it and go about your life as usual. Wake up on Easter Sunday and wonder why the church is so full.
2. Get a Rice Bowl, empty your change every night and call it good. (No, there is nothing wrong with using the CRS Rice Bowl - I encourage it - but if that's all you do....)
3. Think of Lent as the Church's back-up plan to failed New Year's Resolutions or a Godly-inspired method of more healthy eating. Yes, it's good to cut back on sweets or not snack. But Lent is not a weight loss program.
4. Give up something and then LET EVERYONE KNOW YOU'VE GIVEN IT UP. DAILY. A LOT. Be in their face about your sacrifice. Don't let anyone forget about how holy you are.
5. Piously point out that others should not be eating chocolate/drinking beer/watching tv because it's Lent. "Oh, you didn't give that up for Lent....? Huh..." Let them know that you're just a little bit better than that. Not in a smug way, of course. It's for their own good. (Especially do this for your Protestant friends, family and co-workers.)
6. Overload yourself with Lenten righteousness. Give up chocolate, swear off alcohol, no snacking, pray the Office, get up early for daily Mass before work, read 15 books on prayer and saints, search out Stations of the Cross at every parish within driving distance and try to hit those at least four times a week.....You get the idea. Can you say "burn-out"?
7. Choose a Lenten sacrifice that will be on hard on everyone around you. I speak from experience. Gave up chocolate one year and at Easter, Dear Husband said wearily, "Don't ever do that again..."
8. Figure if you're giving something up, you're set. Forget that Lent is three-pronged: sacrifice, prayer, alms.
9. Do exactly the same thing you've always done for Lent. Don't shake things up, don't do anything new or different. Don't ask God what HE would like your Lent to look like.
10. Forget to unite yourself with Christ during Lent. This is really all about you, right?
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