Lenten Season

12:07 PM

Trust me, I'm the farthest from the 'religious type'.

It's just not something I chose to talk about very often or on the blog. The Lenten season is probably the only time I'll talk about religion here. This might even be the first time I've actually dedicated a post to it. I'm sure I've spoken about it passing, but not actually wrote my feelings and thoughts down.

I'm slightly embarrassed because I was not raised going to a specific church, on a regular basis. I did attend the occasional Mass with my Grandma. Sadly, at that age, the idea of spending the night at Grandma's and fast food after church was what was luring, not actually going to church.

I believe in God.

I believe in a higher being.

However, I feel really awkward talking/writing about it. I almost feel like a faux believer. I don't practice regularly and I don't know exactly what the bible says. I get the very, very basic gist of what is going on, but that's about it. I know I don't need to know every word in the Bible to believe in God, but its intimidating.

I wish I was raised with more of a church influence. But I wasn't. It's not to say that my Grandma's influence is lost on me, I still remember her faith and allegiance to her church.

I only go to church a few times a year - no, not Easter and Christmas. We go to celebrate my grandparents birthday's and the anniversary of their deaths. You can throw in the occasional funeral, wedding, and baptism, and that's pretty much when I'll be at church.

I've always wanted to go, but I'm definitely intimidated to go by myself. When I was at Cal Poly I actually went every Sunday Night to the college mass at the Newman Center with friends. I even bought myself a 'learning' Bible, to study the weekly readings. However, I had serious conflict with trying to navigate my way through Catholicism and partying like a college kid. I felt guilty. I really enjoyed that church and how the Father made it easy to relate everything to our everyday lives as college students.

Without starting a trivial debate, I am conflicted with some of the principals of the religion, however these principals are pretty much the same across all religions. Do I need to believe every single thing that Catholicism preaches or can I pick and choose? This is where I am extremely conflicted.

If I were to have children, I want to raise them with a church influence. So, I feel that I should get my mind right as to where I see myself fitting in. Catholicism has always been my go to, because that's what I know. That's where I've always gone and where I feel most comfortable, but that isn't saying much. I've been to a variety of services, even a Mormon one too. 

I've seriously digressed here.

So given that quick background on my beliefs, I still actively participate in Lent. Being completely honest, I can't tell you the exact biblical reason behind Lent, but I do know the idea and mostly where it comes from. I've looked it up before so I'm familiar with the reasoning behind all of the activities that surround the forty days.

I'm not sure when Lent became synonymous with giving up something. More specifically, giving up some type of food. I've always given up some type of food that I love and more recently added 'something to work on' to the forty days. Last year I gave up red meat and worked on not using my phone in the car. Yes, its against the law, but it's such a bad habit. It worked, although it took some getting used too.

When talking to J about what to give up, he mentioned that you are supposed to give up something that you'd like to eventually give up altogether. I wasn't aware of this. He mentioned I should give up social media. I adamantly opposed. He said that's exactly why I should. I have four outlets for SM - I said I'd give up one, even though I don't really want too. I enjoy posting and sharing my life with whomever wants to know about it, I don't really mind. I do admit that I should work on how much I am on my phone and the apps for SM.

Given that Fat Tuesday is a week from today, means that I need to decide what I want to give up this year. As I am writing this, I decided to look up 'Lent' again. I was interested to see what they say are the modern customs, since prehistoric times they fasted for the entire forty days.

From Wikipedia : However, in modern times, observers give up an action of theirs considered to be a vice, add something that is considered to be able to bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations.

I generally will give up multiple vices and work on something. So here are a few things that I've been contemplating

Giving Up:
  • Chips & Fries
  • Soda (but this isn't very hard, since I don't drink it often)
  • Alcohol (with the exception of my actual birthday (one day), is that cheating?)
  • Red Meat
  • Cheese
  • Sweets - must define.
Working On:
  • Tracking all my expenses.
  • Putting my phone down and being in the moment.
  • Volunteering.
  • Reading an hour a day. 
  • Not buying myself anything extra - i.e. purses, clothes, makeup, etc.
  • Praying regularly.
I still haven't decided, but these are my running lists until I can actually decide. As I write these out, they seem so superficial, as if the sentiment is lost one me. It is not, but what I choose to give up is. I know Lent is more than just what I am giving up for the forty days. It's also how I work toward a closer relationship with God, how I work on being a better person, and also challenging myself.

As for the act of fasting during Lent, I've done a pretty good job over the years of following this practice. After a lengthy discussion regarding this topic at my old job, we looked up what the practice of fasting was considered. According to American Catholic Organization it is as follows:
  • Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday
  • All Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent.
  • Fasting as explained by the U.S. bishops means partaking of only one full meal.
    • Some food (not equaling another full meal) is permitted at breakfast and around midday or in the evening—depending on when a person chooses to eat the main or full meal.
    • Abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, milk products or condiments made of animal fat.    
Random, Yelp always has an event on Ash Wednesday! What's up with that? Don't they know I am supposed to fast that day.

Religion is tricky. Which is why I stay away from the topic, in regards to SM. I'm always willing to have a personal discussion about it, I have so much to learn in that regard. We all have our own beliefs and I respect each and every one, even if I don't agree with it. I won't ever shove my opinions down anyone's throats or overload your feed with my religious beliefs. However, I am throwing this out there because I think it's something important in my life. Also, I thought maybe someone would have suggestions/ideas as to what I could possibly give up (vice) or work on during the Lenten season. I'm open to your thoughts...

Just trying to find my way through a very delicate subject...

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  1. I grew up Catholic - went to Catholic school for 13 years. That being said, I'm no longer a practicing Catholic. I have my views on why not and if you're curious, we'll meet up and talk about it! I just don't think your comments section is the appropriate place to hijack your blog on religious views! :)

    That being said, one year my parents gave up rice for Lent. Being Ecuadorian, my mom grew up with rice at basically every meal, and I grew up with having rice at ever meal, even ones that seemed weird to everyone else (meatloaf and rice! I never knew beef stroganoff was supposed to be with egg noodles!). She said it was really hard for her the first few meals, but eventually she got used to it. When she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, knowing she can go through dinner without rice became important - and necessary!

    I have a friend who gave up alcohol for Lent, and even went out with everyone. He just wouldn't drink. He didn't mind. He was always the DD and knew beforehand that he could live without alcohol, but post soccer game without a beer was when he realized it was challenging. But he was happy about it in the end.

    I can't say I've ever given up anything and really stuck with it, that I remember at least. There may have been the time my parents made me give up reading Babysitters Club books as a kid because they wanted me to expand my horizons, but I think that's about it.

    Have you ever seen the stages of the cross? You might want to check out that mass. And most churches are willing to sit down with you for a few minutes and answer questions for you. Have you ever been to a non-denominational church?

    1. Hey Liz! Thanks for the ideas, both alcohol and rice sound like those would be good vices to give up for Lent. I am always down to meet up and discuss this or any topic, as long as theirs good food and tasty beverages at hand :) As for your last few questions No and No. I should check out a non-denominational church. Do you have one in mind? Thanks for taking the time to comment :) xoxo, ganeeban

  2. Yes! We will! The next few weekends are booked for me, but March has a couple dates open. I don't actually know of a non-denominational church to refer you to...lol. Sorry!

    Let's discuss!


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