Its next to impossible to google search for a mardi gras picture and find one suitable for a Catholic blog header. Just like Valentine’s Day just a few days ago, it seems that the world has forgotten that mardi gras is about Christ, that is, its existence is based solely on the fact that Christians have a Lenten season. So you get face palm Jesus for your header.
Anyway, today is Fat Tuesday, or in French, mardi gras. Back in the day, when Christians were giving up meat for Lent, they would have to eat all their meat on the day before Lent because it would spoil before Easter. Hence, the existence of Fat Tuesday.
Today we should all take a moment to figure out what we are “doing” for Lent if we haven’t done so already. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile, and up until a few days ago I was simply going to add in another day of abstinence to my current fasting/abstaining practices, which are to fast on Wednesday and Fridays, and to abstain on Fridays. I was simply going to abstain on Wednesdays also. But it seems kind of “cheap” at this point considering that its not really going above and beyond what I’m already doing. I thought about removing coffee, but as my coworkers can attest to last week (when I ran out of coffee and was too lazy to go buy more), it was more of a penance for them, than for myself.
So I think that I’m going to do again what I did a few years back: I’m going to sleep on the floor during Lent and offer it in prayer for those who don’t have a place to lay their head, like the Son of Man.
I encourage you not to simply give up pop or give up sweets or something like that. I mean if that’s a strong vice in your life, go for it, but I think that there are probably better things that we Christians can do to 1. prepare our hearts for Jesus and 2. unite ourselves to the members of the body of Christ and those who are “Jesus” to us.
And don’t forget that canon law in the United States of America requires that all persons aged 14 and over must abstain from meat and items made from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all of the Fridays during Lent. Additionally, every person between the age of 18 and their 59th birthday must fast (1 regular sized meal and 2 smaller meals that do not total 1 full meal, with no snacking) on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Pregnant women are dispensed from these regulations.
And as a bonus reminder canon law requires that ALL FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR (excepting Fridays on which a Solemnity falls) Catholics are required to abstain from meat, unless they substitute another penance in its place.
Have a Holy Lent!