The Lenten Plight of an average guilt-ridden Catholic

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Yes, it’s that time of year again, children.

If you are Catholic, you know that it’s time again to put on your woollen sackcloth and gird your loins for 40 days of Famished Fridays. If you are a Catholic that carries enough guilt to make the whole world and a couple of Martians  repent, then you are probably preparing to take on some extra sacrifices.

Since I fall in the latter category of Catholics, I have spent the last couple of days stressing myself over which of my vices would reluctantly get the boot for 40 days. In the past, I tried asking some of my Catholic friends for suggestions for stuff to give up. The best I got was, “Well, pray about it.”, which is the Catholic way of saying ‘Quit bitching, I’m busy’. The worst I got were actual suggestions of some unthinkable things like giving up make-up and hot showers.  

So I decided to “pray about it”, which I’m now doing on the eve of Ash day by listening to Taylor Swift and blogging instead of lighting a candle and saying a novena.

In previous years, Lent used to be a time when I would try to one-up myself with ridiculous things to give up. I think maybe it was more of a competition I liked having with myself to see how far I could push myself. Alas! As history of my Lenten endeavors would indicate, I’m not very competitive…even when I have nothing and no one to compete with.

-Contact lenses (2007)

Yes, a few years ago, I gave up my contact lenses for Lent. I understand this makes no sense, but hear me out. I hated wearing glasses. Trading my glasses in for contacts in 11th grade was like shedding my frog costume for confidence. Hence the idea of wearing glasses for forty days straight  sat as well with me as  the idea of wearing a burqa would sit with Paris Hilton.

Why this won’t be such a sacrifice for me now? Because in addition to not having the same 5-year-old boy haircut and unibrow that I did in highschool, I now also have a little more confidence outside of my outward appearance. And I have since highschool changed my glasses to a pair that doesn’t make me look like a frog. Everybody wins!…except Lent.

– Facebook (2009)

I gave up Facebook for Lent 2009. It was no easy feat but I was juiced up on the idea of one-uping contact lenses. Since Sundays don’t count as Lenten days…something I learnt at the end of 40 torturous contact-lensless days in the social desert…I got my Facebook fix once a week. Some consider this cheating. I considered it God’s way of keeping me sane.

Why this won’t be such a sacrifice now? Because I won’t be making it.

Coffee (2010)

In my craze to one-up every previous Lenten sacrifice, I told myself I would give up coffee. This marked the beginning of the end of my adventures of climbing the Lenten Mt. Everest seeing as how one week into the climb, I fell off the mountain, cracked my skull and lost my mind. This illustration explains perfectly what happened and why it will never happen again.

Sadly, my successful Lenten streak of super sacrifice ended here. (www.lapsura.com)

 – iPod (2011)

I’m pleading insanity on this one. Clearly, I either forgot the coffee failure of 2010 or my over-zealous Catholic self felt the need the make up for it. I didn’t survive one day and decided to pray everyday on the bus to overcome the guilt instead.

Why this won’t be a sacrifice for me now? Because last I heard, the Catholic Church considers suicide a sin.

– ?????(2012)

No, I didn’t take a 10 minute break from my blog to pray about anything. But what I do understand now at the end of this post is that giving up things makes me miserable. Perhaps if I could be one of those truly Biblical people who “anoint their head and wash their face” while they reach for the Tetley instead of a Starbucks grande, then I might have more success with giving up.

But I’m not.

So this year, I’m not giving up anything. I will listen to my iPod, drink coffee everyday and wear my contact lenses. I will take hot showers, drink wine and be a happy person. Misery need not claim another Lenten victim. This would also very much benefit everyone around me since no one needs to be dealing with coffee-less Karen as much as they shouldn’t be dealing with a lunatic bitch carelessly hurling around sharp objects.

Probably the best thing I could ever give up…for everyone’s sake.

In place of giving up pieces of my life that keep me sane, I will instead give up procrastinating on things like laundry, dishes and dirty bath tubs and bring life back to order. Because order makes me happy. Almost as about as happy as my iPod, coffee and contact lenses. And if I give up being lazy, maybe for once, I will be happy for Lent. I’m pretty sure this is what Jesus would do anyway.

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22 thoughts on “The Lenten Plight of an average guilt-ridden Catholic

  1. Exactly. Jesus would probably want you tyo drink coffee and use your ipod. (see those deciples wrote that bible and just misconstrued everything!)
    You could always give up gum chewing – it’s vulgar anyways, or boycott Lima beans – who likes lima beans?

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  3. haha this is awesome- I love your version of “praying” and plan to adopt it wholeheartedly. Also, the contact lenses is hilarious – you poor, tortured soul, you!

    • Technically, I was only successful with giving up contact lenses and facebook after which I suffered Lenten burnout.

      Since I’m giving up nothing this year, you look like a Lenten Champion with your donut boycott. Not to mention a million calories skinnier but the end of it.

      Goodluck to you my friend!

  4. Ugh, I think giving up the iPod is even worse than giving up the coffee! There would for sure be several casualties on the TTC if I had to commute without my iPod :S

  5. Good read as always! Love your contact lenses sacrifice…hahahaha I contemplated it doing it myself as I read it but then realized I loved the idea too much for it be a sacrifice. It’d be another reason to be lazy and slow in the morning lol

    • Lol thanks Sheryl! My vanity usually exceeds my laziness which is why I used to always wear contacts no matter what. Now that I actually have a nice pair of glasses it really will no sacrifice because exactly like you, it would be more out laziness.

      Sigh…what have you decided to give up in the end? Or are in stuck in Lenten limbo like me?

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  8. 2 things:

    a. one year a friend of mine gave up Catholicism for Lent.

    b. I saw someone say they were going to eat more chocolate for lent because Jesus would want them to eat chocolate.

    So…..not very inspiring examples. Can’t we always try to live a better life?

    • a. Gave up catholicism for lent? Its like saying you tried to get to know the members of your AA support group by taking them out for a drink. Bad analogy but what I’m trying to get at is the senselessness concept lol.

      b. I actually support this. Here’s why: if not eating chocolate causes you to go into a pmsing mental tailspin and kill a few people, then yes that is the silliest thing to give up. Jesus would definitely want you to eat more chocolate if that will make you love your neighbours and such.

      c. Indeed, that is what should really be everyone’s lenten goal. How about instead of giving up chocolate, you give up your seat on the bus for a senior?

      d. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! 🙂

  9. Several years ago I gave up guilt for Lent. One of the best things I’ve ever done, and that’s no exaggeration. At the end of Lent I decided to give guilt up for good.

    I enjoyed your post– thanks for writing!

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