Lent this year
April 08, 2014
A few weeks before Lent started, I read a comment on a religious discussion board that said that people with allergies and asthma should just endure their reactions to incense (no matter how severe) in order to fulfill their religious duties. Basically, incense was too important to change its use for a bunch of whiners.*
Since I have asthma (back under control now, but it was really bad in November & December) and it was the height of seasonal depression, my first reaction was that maybe God just doesn't like asthmatics (& other people who have reactions to incense).
My second reaction was that I needed to stop reading things that made me feel like I couldn't be a Christian. That's what I should give up for Lent!
I've never seen the point of New Year's Resolutions - if you want to make a change, make it! Why wait until New Year's?! The same with this. A few weeks before Lent, I gave up reading things that looked like they would make me feel like I couldn't be a Christian. Basically, this means that before I start reading articles or discussion boards, I pause and really think about the possible results of reading them.
This was so useful that I'm also doing the same thing with articles & boards that have nothing to do with religion. Is this article really going to give me any useful new information or is it just rehashing the same arguments? Does it give a new perspective? I read far fewer articles now.
The wonderful thing is that I'm reading more books.
I also decided to try reading more things that actually encourage my faith! While this seems like a fairly obvious thing to do, I've spent lots of time reading things that other people recommend because they encourage their faith. I've never tried to focus on thing that will help my faith because that seems like cherry-picking - maybe I'll only focus on the easy stuff. However, with my bout of not-being-sure-of-what-I-believed a few years ago,** I decided that it would be good to nurture my faith for a while. I've been listening to Father Phillip's homilies online, and I've been reading Inspiration from Pope Francis.
The thing is, unlike the usual Lenten changes, I don't see a reason to change back when Lent is over.
* I tried to go back and find the link, but my internet history doesn't go back that far.
** During the Nicene Creed, I would mentally add "I would like to believe" at the beginning of every section.
[The photo is of the mother and baby dolphins that we watched in the harbor in Charleston, SC a month ago. The photo is only loosely connected to the post (I bought the book about Pope Francis from the Pauline bookstore in Charleston).]