Great Lent 2012: A Time of Reflection

 When I was growing up Lent was a time to be endured. I confess it had little meaning for me and I strongly disliked it.  I remember one year crying about Ash Wednesday.  I didn’t want to go to church.  I didn’t want ashes on my forehead and I certainly didn’t want to start eating fish on Fridays.  I like my meat thankyouverymuch.

I don’t particularly care for my mother’s tuna noodle casserole (with potato chips on top) nor was a big fan of cheese pizza (pizza? Yes.  With pepperoni preferably).  I didn’t understand why I couldn’t eat what I wanted.  All I understood about Lent was that I couldn’t eat meat on Fridays.

Lent had no meaning for me. My focus was only on how I could live through fish sticks and fish sandwiches at school for lunch on Fridays.

And then I grew up, became Protestant and rejected Lent altogether.  I had some friends who “gave up something” (usually chocolate) but none of them could ever tell me *why* they were avoiding chocolate or why they willingly ordered a fish sandwich for lunch. (blech!)

And I discovered Orthodoxy.  Orthodox fasting rules make Catholic Lent seem like child’s play.   No meat, no fish, no dairy, no eggs, no (olive) oil and no wine.  (Is there anything left?) I often joke that I should have returned to Rome at least then I could beef broth with vegetables even if I couldn’t actually have the beef.

(Please note, dear readers, that the Orthodox fasting guidelines are not rigid and are between the individual, God and spiritual advisor.   We are never to judge a brother or sister in Christ.)

But food stuff aside, Lent has become so much more to me.  It’s not about the fasting.  (Yes that is a BIG part of Lent).  It’s about evaluating myself.  It’s about teaching myself discipline.  It’s about reflecting on how far I have fallen and how I can repent and return to God.

I find myself wanting more time for prayer.  I find myself doing self-examination and I am repulsed by what I see in my heart.  I find myself needing to be at church more.  I need more of God. 

Lent is the season where I fall in love all over again with my Savior as I reflect on how desperately I need Him and I am awed by how much He loves me.


This post is linked up to 40 Days of Seeking Him hosted by Trish at A House upon the Rock and Laura at Day by Day in our World.


  1. Quote: "Lent is the season where I fall in love all over again with my Savior as I reflect on how desperately I need Him and I am awed by how much He loves me."


    Wonderful post...such a great reminder of what Lent is really about.

  2. I agree with Trish, that is the standout line indeed. I have similar memories of my childhood Lents, and I confess that sometimes I worry my son has a viewpoint similar to that.

    However, it truly is a time of introspection, of drawing close to God, of yearning for him. That's the key.

  3. Mimi - I worry about my kids too... I try each year to make it more than just about food, but I think to a kid that's the biggy. My older ones really, really enjoy Presanctified and it is there that they experience Great Lent in a truer way.

    Thanks Tess for your unique perspective. I want more time of prayer, but oh how I let other things get in the way.


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