Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fast and Feast

Amazingly, Lent has come mid-way, as I type this, and the fifth week is only a few days away. On Ash Wednesday I sighed, thinking what a long haul was ahead of us! But for me this Lent is "moving right along." Partly that is due to keeping very busy as well as to some celebratory events within the days of Lent—such as a 90th and 99th birthday for two Sisters, a gratitude party for three leadership team Sisters and observance of a solemnity feast (i.e., St. Benedict, the Annunciation, etc.) here and there.

Other things which make Lent more bearable to me have to do with the menu. For instance, I really, really like herring. I don't recall our getting it outside of Lent … or, at least, it is rare. For others, having it regularly on the menu now adds to the negative image of Lent, I suspect. We also get hot-cross buns on Good Friday, to which I always look forward and wish would appear more often. While desserts are less evident, the menus remain varied and good. I used to hope I'd lose weight during Lent—but unfortunately that doesn't seem to ever happen. Maybe more fasting is called for instead of minor abstinences? And, do note the irony: there is only one letter difference between the two words feasting and fasting.

Benedict says in his Rule that we should abstain a little more from the usual measure of things, such as food, drink and sleep, but I think it is tougher to bite back the sharp word, wait patiently in line and show up on time for all tasks and services. Nothing heroic; still, these things may be as praiseworthy as our usual fasting.

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