yep, today is Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, so forth... It's the "official" preparation or last gasp of over-indulgence before Lent begins tomorrow (except for those of you in Christian Orthodox Churches for whom Lent Began Sunday. I don't really have any plans to eat pazche (punch-kee), or celebrate Fasching Fest, I'll probably just over eat at lunch-time, I mean a guy's gotta be true to tradition, right??
Lent- I think a good Christian definition might go something like this: Lent is the season during which we walk in the steps of Jesus's in remembrance of his trials in the desert. We practice self-denial in an effort to find our way closer to God and God's Will for us.
That's all well and good, but what does Lent mean for this alcoholic and soon to be Catholic convert? I used to think Lent was about giving up something I really like, usually in an effort to rid myself of a bad habit (i.e.: chocolate, potato chips, fast food, smokes). And well, that's not entirely incorrect, but it leaves out the main reason and benefit (I believe) for giving something up. So much of what I do here on earth as a human separates me from God and God's Will for me. There are so many enticing things here on earth that are man made, or enticements of the flesh that it's easy to lose our way and walk further from that which truly gives us Strength and Purpose. So, we (I) celebrate Lent in a effort to find ways to become closer to God and His Will for us; ok, me... I don't believe Lent is some sort of morbid self-denial, veil of tears and misery. It's simply a way for me to spend an extended period of time (as Christ did) facing the trials of the world, without some of the potential harmful (even sinful?) creature comforts I've come to rely upon. Rather, without those earthly, material, human distractions, I can focus more clearly and earnestly upon my relationship with HP/God/JC.
As an alcoholic in recovery, I think this is a great time for me to re-commit to working the 12 Steps, most especially, 4-7. (sorry sponsees, here it comes, lol) So, as one of my Lenten practices this year, I intend to immerse myself in Step work, and commit myself to purging myself of some earthly "sludge" that's blocking my more complete immersion in the Sunlight of God's Spirit.
At the end of the Lenten season, I shall be Baptised and Confirmed into the Catholic Church. I shall also receive my 1st Holy Eucharist (Communion) among my spiritual community and family. I cannot think of a more appropriate excercise to prepare for such an event as a good, thorough spiritual housecleaning. However, since I shall be washed clean of sin through Baptism during Easter Vigil Mass, I had thought of hitting Vegas, maybe finding a girlfriend or two, etc. but it seems that perhaps those aren't the best ways to take advatage of my upcoming Gifts... (only kidding!!) I guess I shall never be rid of the self centered alkie/addict after all, huh?? he he!
Prayer for today...
JC/HP/God, I thank You for another day sober and clean. It is only with Your Guidance that I am able to live this life, free from the shackles of active alcoholism and drug addicition. I am grateful. I pray that I might be grateful enough for Your Gift that I might be willing to carry Your Word to others, that I might think of Your and others before I think of myself. I pray that I might use this upcoming Lenten season to rid myself of the material enticements of the flesh here on earth. I pray that my efforts to do this will result in my increased willingness to get to know You and Your Will for me. I pray that I have the self discipline, one day at a time to practice this spiritual cleasing. Please help me in my efforts to do so, and guide my thinking that I might grow closer to You through this process.
peace be with you all, enjoy Fat Tuesday!