It is the final period of preparation, called, 'Purification and Enlightenment' for those who will join the Church through the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) at the Easter Vigil.
It is a time that the Baptized are called to prayer, fasting and almsgiving as a form of penance and to journey with those who are preparing for Baptism. After all, Easter is the time that the Baptized renew their Baptismal vows.
Lent is a time of conversion. When someone 'gives something up' for Lent, in reality, they are 'fasting' from something that causes them to turn away from Christ.
We aren't supposed to just 'hang in there' until Holy Thursday without candy, or alcohol, or even Candy Crush...we are changing our lives in order to live more fully in Christ. Kinda like what the priest might say when he marks your forehead on Ash Wednesday, "Repent, and believe in the Gospel." Mark 1:15
With that said, I've decided to try and 'fast' from all animal products and oil in Lent this year. I chose this for two reasons- 1. It's really difficult to do and 2. I want to focus on healthy eating.
I've had some very interesting food in the past few days.
I had a lavash pizza with a no-oil pesto base topped with veggies-
brown rice and veggie stuffed bell peppers- (Kevin had regular stuffed peppers with cheese on the left)
and baked potato soup. Sorry, no photo!
I've had almond milk in my coffee, lots of salads, and some amazing waffles (I'll post a photo when I make them again for breakfast). I've had roasted cauliflower, broccoli, onion with hummus gravy, pb&j sandwiches, and I think I might be turning into a carrot or celery stick....but I feel good and not deprived.
I'll post some of the recipes with photos over the next few weeks so you can get a feel for the wide variety of foods I am eating....and I am actually making Kevin a meat-based meal for dinner (and some breakfasts) almost every day!
I think the hardest thing has been to not eat cheese. I love cheese. I love Brie, cheddar, gouda, manchego...I swear I keep Trader Joe's in business with all the cheese (and yogurt, sour cream, milk, half and half, cottage cheese) that I usually buy....but I have been very disciplined thus far.
We will see how it goes!
Today was a weepy day for me. Kevin and I slept in late, read the paper, and had a late breakfast (rosti for him- hashbrowns fried in butter with ham, bacon and topped with cheddar cheese and green onions- rolled oats for me and fresh strawberries tossed with a little blue agave syrup for both of us) and decided to go to the 11:15AM Mass at St. Teresa's at the other end of town.
I was surprised when Fr. Chuck did the rite of Sending the Catechumens (those who will be Baptized at Easter Vigil) and Candidates (those who are already Baptized in either another denomination or Catholic who will complete Sacraments of Initiation- Confirmation and Eucharist at Easter Vigil) at the 11:15AM Mass. They are 'sent' to the Bishop of the Diocese, who formally received them this afternoon in Reno as those elected by God to join the Church or complete Sacraments.
I was so sad that I was not standing with them, presenting them to the Pastor and the Parish, as I have done for the past 7 years at Sacred Heart. I knew I would REALLY miss the RCIA process as director...(Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) but I just started to tear up, and I couldn't stop for a while.
Our usual parish does not have an RCIA process, but I think I might have to go and have a chat with the Pastor.
Happy First Sunday of Lent!
By the way, I LOVE the readings for the first Sunday of Lent- the Temptation of Christ. I remember a long time ago Fr. Alex Kim gave the best homily I have EVER heard about this Gospel. Thanks Fr. Alex!