We have closed a week of lent and here are a few thoughts running through my brain:
It's not all about the food
It's so easy to get caught up in the fasting part of Lent. When we focus only on food, we become very self-centered. It's all about us and what we physically put into our body. Yet, there are three legs to support this spiritual season we have entered and they are Prayer, Fasting, and Charity or more specifically, Giving Alms.
What are Alms? In an article on Compelling Truth, "...almsgiving was the act of filling a material need for someone less fortunate, usually by giving money." When we give alms, we focus on what we physically give to other bodies. We focus outside of ourselves.
I want to work harder on looking outside of myself and offering to others.
We need the proper supplies
Were you prepared for the vegan menu or were you caught off guard too? I was not prepared and found myself in a drive-thru too many times. So I reassessed my pantry and made sure I had the following: fresh veggies (spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, potatoes), chickpeas for hummus, flour and yeast for bread, tomato sauce, dried beans, frozen pierogies, rice milk, and pasta.
I also had to be sure to fit a church service or two into my schedule. On Wednesday, I lost track of time and missed the presanctified service. I need to do a better job this coming week especially since Annunciation is Friday, and we have Liturgy.
We are different
As a first generation American, I often feel a little left out of things. Now that My Big Fat Greek Wedding II is out, you have a good idea what this means. Being Orthodox, and temporarily on the "Old Calendar" those feelings have returned. We have just started our fast and there are wooden bunnies and Easter flags decorating my neighbors' yards (which seem too soon to me.) By next week, all the Peeps, jelly beans, hams and egg dyes will be gone and the grocery shelves will shift to Mother's Day and graduations, leaving us in the dust.
Temporarily being on the Old Calendar with such a late Easter/Pascha is interesting. It reminds me that we are different from the world; separate and not part of it. Sometimes I get distracted by trying to keep up with the world. A late Easter can cure that.
And yes, there is the added benefit of cheap candy...
We won't be here forever.
It's always good to "live like you were dying." Why do we focus on the temporal things and not the eternal ones, like our souls? I like how the Orthodox Church starts Lent off remembering the dead with three liturgies we call Saturday of the Souls. It serves as a proper inspiration to stay the course.
What we do during Lent is in preparation for our possible time in Paradise.
May we all have the strength and courage to complete the Lenten Season with grace.