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Lent

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As I guess everyone here knows I’m not Catholic, some of you may not know that I was raised in the Roman Catholic church between the ages of 4 and 11/12. I had my first communion, I was confirmed. Don’t get me wrong, I never really missed Catholicism when we left it: I have been quite conscious by then that I didn’t believe, but was building on the faith of others.

Lent, however, was something that was truly special in my family. It was bigger than Advent. While Advent points the believers towards the birth of a baby while Lent points towards theone event that allegedly made that baby different from all other babies. Without the miracle of Easter the events of Christmas are meaningless. The preparatory season of Lent is just as much about looking forward to Christ’s triumph over death as it is about the sacrifices one makes.

Arriving at the topic of sacrifices, one of the things we always made sure that our eating was humble and involved real sacrifices. I just looked through some sites recommending recipes for Lent, especially for meatless Fridays, and I was apalled to see the luxurious feasts that they suggested. Eating scallops, shrimp, lobster and the such–unless those are regular staples in the area where you are–doesn’t seem like a personal sacrifice. It’s more like the letter of the Law attitude people frown at when Jesus’ contemporaries are mentioned.  At the same time I don’t want to be too judgmental of people who choose to follow these lavish food suggestions, because after all it comes down to personal sacrifice.

FB and the blogosphere are full of posts of who is giving up what for lent; long, detailed lists, random things as well as real sacrifices. That’s another thing I now find funny. During my childhood our parish priests always reminded us that we should be humble about our sacrifices for Lent: “do it for G-d, his glory, not your own” was something very often repeated during the sermon on Lent. Of course there are situations when it’s practical to share, like if you give up FB, so your friends are not worried, or if you give up a regular activity so that people will know not to be offended when you say no, but generally, I don’t think everyone and their friends need to know that you are giving up pink eyeshadow. Maybe I’m just too conservative, or can’t keep up with the times when it comes to things like this, so please ignore my ramblings.

Oh, by the way, Wikipedia is telling me that bagels were invented in Kraków, Poland for Lent. So enjoy your bagels!

ETA: Ciska reminded me of something I was going to write: writing down what you commit to for Lent is a good way to keep yourself accountable. And I agree with that!

12 Responses to “Lent”

  1. Ciska says:

    On the one hand, I totally agree with you. On the other, I also post my Lenten resolutions on my blog, mainly because it keeps me accountable. Then again, it’s not something I really talk about outside of my blog, so … I don’t know. Tricky subject!
    Ciska recently posted..LentMy Profile

    • Hevel @KosherKola says:

      Yes, I was thinking of that aspect just after I posted the above. It is a tricky subject, and in the times of social media it is becoming more and more tricky. I also don’t see you trying to compete with anyone else in your sacrifices. My FB temporarily had a feel of medieval nuns writing the lives of saints with everyone trying to be a bit more holy than the others.

  2. Christie says:

    Hevel,
    I thought you were raised Mormon! So you have gone from Jewish, to Catholic, to Mormon and back to Jewish, but not totally? 🙂
    I do have a friend that gave up facebook.
    Christie recently posted..I Don’t Think She’s Excited Enough!My Profile

    • Hevel @KosherKola says:

      I was born Jewish, through I was emergency baptized by a well meaning nurse at birth. I was raised Jewish, then Catholic, then LDS, went to SDA, Reformed and Methodist theology and I’m Jewish and agnostic.

  3. Nora says:

    I had a lovely bagel today thank you very much!!

    I like your priest’s teaching on Lent and it IS a time for sacrifice. Down here in Texas there are lots of shrimping boats and people eat on Fridays because its so plentiful it’s not an extravagance. But for me, a Michigan girl shrimp were a rare luxury and it is just wrong to indulge on a day of austerity.

    Nosey question: your whole family left Catholicism?

    • Hevel @KosherKola says:

      My adoptive parents and all of us kids became LDS. Now only the youngest kids at home are LDS, but none of us went back to Catholicism. My extended Irish family is still very much Catholic.

  4. jen says:

    Yeah, I could probably do shrimp and lobster on Fridays (I’m an hour from the coast as the crow flies) but that kind of defeats the purpose to me. I also think fish is kind of a cop-out so I go for no flesh of any kind.

    I also don’t make ambitious plans for Lent because it’s already hard enough to keep the basic stuff. Generally, I choose to take things on like more devotional reading, crocheting a square a day for an afghan that will be given to charity, or blogging more about faith because those things help me to draw closer to Jesus more than giving up Facebook does.

    Having said all that, I’m counting down the hours until midnight when I can dig into the Hawaiian pizza in the fridge. Fasting also tends to make me crabby.
    jen recently posted..Lent 2013: “The Glory of These Forty Days”My Profile

    • Hevel @KosherKola says:

      I think Friday fish is okay. I grew up with fish for every Friday, though without any dairy… Strange strange habits around my house.

  5. Shauna says:

    Hevel, do you suppose your Jewish ancestors fled to Ireland to escape the Moors invading Spain/Portugal? I bet some PhD candidate has traced that type of information down. Never have thought of that before.

    That nurse! It was her moral obligation to baptize you! The nuns used to teach us that type of stuff in grade school. Crazy Catholic stuff of my youth. I’ll spare you the specific instructions.

    We ate fish on Fridays all the time growing up. Now I eat fish most days as my husband gave up meat, but is a pescatarian.

    It’s interesting that you have at least 3 Tejano readers. Nora, me, and the person who commented on the Challenger post recently. BTW, the news casts in north Texas did all mention the Israeli astronaut, and spoke of his family. His family has donated several personal items to a new museum dedicated to the Challenger astronauts, located in Corsicana, Tx, which was the center of where most debris fell. And…it gets better…..the judge who was appointed to oversee the recovery of all the Challenger disaster debris and of the astronauts bodies, has since left law and has become a nun! She was so moved by the whole experience, it seems. Her habit, veil and all, is Green in color. I kid you not! Have no idea what her order is.

    I gave up sweets for Lent, then promptly forgot….and ate some chocolate.

    • Hevel @KosherKola says:

      Hm, this arrogance of Catholicism I hate. Why is it a moral obligation to baptize a Jewish child? It’s not only disrespectful of the very living and present mother’s wishes (Everyone who was present tells me my mother was screaming “Don’t you dare!” at the nurse) but completely in line with the history of forced conversions of the middle ages and raising thousands and thousands of Shoah survivour children as Catholic, robbing them of both their heritage and their true faith–continuing the Holocaust with a cultural genocide. I don’t doubt the nurse meant well, but I’m still trying to figure out how to sue both the hospital and the nurse, and the parish, where details of my baptism were recorded, using my personal, private information without the consent of my parents. Mind you, this is the same hospital that murdered my grandmother and 60 years later Savita Halappanavar–and who knows how many women in between–by denying them a termination when they were already miscarrying. That baptism didn’t only violate my rights as laid out in the Irish constitution, it violated my very soul.

      My Jewish ancestors arrived in Ireland in the mid-30’s from Hungary. My grandmother married a man, son of a Catholic mother and a Sephardic Jewish man and stayed there, while the other members of her family moved to the States, England or Israel after WWII. I kind of wish she had convinced grandfather to move, she would have gotten to raise her children, and that directly would have resulted in my own life being completely different.

      I always wonder why successful, independent women become nuns. Many have reasons, and hardly any I know of become cloistered. My friends always feel sorry for young women who become cloistered, but after knowing several such young women (big, Irish Catholic family, again) I know that cloistered life will keep them safe, because most of them would be completely incapable of adult life in the real world. This way they are taken care of, and they never have to make a decision with practical consequences. There is no mistake in their being drawn to cloistered life.

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