Hopes for liturgical living: Lent

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I said I’d post this later in the week three weeks ago. But then it was the Triduum and then the Easter Octave and it seemed inappropriate timing. It’s still probably inappropriate timing until Lent rolls around again but that’s a long time for this to be sitting in my draft box.

So without further ado, here are my imaginings of a well-spent Lent:

Food

We’ll eat like peasants. Not really. But I would like to do the Byzantine fast. Or go vegan. Or unseason our food. Or eat the same three meals over and over again for forty days. And ideally even batch cook it all before Lent. Annnd maybe even have a silent meal once a day or spiritual reading during meals. That would be ambitious. But maybe one day.

I’ve gotten very bad about doing the absolute minimum for Lent. We don’t eat meat on Fridays but we do eat it every other day of the week usually three times a day. Often combined with other rich and fatty foods. These habits along with eating out are so normal in American culture but we forget what a luxury they are and how they make us comfortably distracted.

I want to minimize and simplify the role of food in our lives during this season. Minimize the time spent planning and preparing and cooking. And the time spent picking out restaurants and scanning menus when I’ve dropped the ball on meal planning at home.

Leisure

I don’t think it’s realistic or even healthy to ban fun in a family even during a penitential season. But I plan to be intentional about the movies we watch, the books we read, the music we listen to, and the games we play. And I want to encourage an atmosphere of reflection. So maybe we’ll have time set aside for activities like quiet nature walks and journaling. And I’m thinking technology will be mostly banned in the name of fostering true community and fellowship.

Work

The fact that cleaning is associated with spring and Lent falls in the spring strikes me as more than coincidental. I want to spend a good deal of time in Lent in my task of managing a household by deep cleaning and decluttering.

Wear

This may seem like an odd one and I would probably never have thought of it except that my husband has always tried to wear darker colors during Lent and brighter colors during Easter. And I really do think what you wear has an effect on your inner disposition and those around you. My goal is that one day we’ll all have small, simple, functional (but still design-conscious because beauty is one of the theological virtues, yo) wardrobes with pieces intentionally chosen for both the natural and supernatural seasons. Dark or subdued during penitential times. Bright and light for celebratory times.

Prayer

Something that I’m very grateful to my parents for is that they didn’t do the bare minimum in regard to our faith. Stations of the Cross were just as obligatory in my mind as Sunday Mass. And even though I’ve never veered from the Faith, ever since I left for college and the responsibility fell on me to keep all the devotions, I’ve been bad about viewing them as optional.

But I want to recover that sense of delightful duty for my family’s and my sake. So one day we’ll faithfully attend the Stations of the Cross. And we’ll be better about praying the Liturgy of Hours since I think that’s one of the surest ways of molding a home into a little domestic monastery (amended of course in regard to the needs and limitations of family life.) And we’ll chant. And whether during meals or otherwise, we’ll have a short selection of spiritual reading each day.

•••

So these are the goals. And yes, I’m sure there will be lots of planning and adjusting and reliance on divine grace necessary for all of them to actually be realized.

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Hopes for liturgical living: Lent

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