Lenten Regulations: Each Catholic is asked to preserve the penitential purpose and character of Lent, which begins Ash Wednesday (February 18, 2015). Catholics who have celebrated their 14th birthday are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays in Lent, and Good Friday (April 3, 2015). In addition to abstaining from meat, Catholics who have celebrated their 18th birthday until they celebrate their 59th birthday are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Those who are bound to this regulation may only eat one full meal. Two smaller meals are permitted if necessary to maintain strength according to one’s needs, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted. These practices are designed for spiritual growth. Catholics are not to excuse themselves lightly from these prescribed minimal penitential practices.
In addition to these regulations, many Catholics “give up” something for Lent as part of their spiritual growth. For some it is a bad habit, such as smoking or drinking, for others it may be a food that isn’t a healthy choice such as chocolate or ice cream or sweets of any kind. Some people choose to do something positive for Lent, such as starting an exercise routine or giving money to charity, such as Operation Rice Bowl.
A few years ago I came up with something that helped both me and others: decluttering my life. I resolved to clean out a drawer or cupboard or closet each day during Lent and either throw out at least one thing and/or give at least one thing to charity. I would organize paperwork, get rid of expired food, and get rid of clothes that no longer fit (I faced the fact that my 50-something body was not going to fit into that favorite old pair of jeans!). I discovered such a sense of peace and relief at the end of Lent because I knew I had helped to clean up my home and I gave to those who needed these things much more than I did. It is very freeing when you don’t dread opening a cupboard or closet for fear of what you might discover or find that a dust bunny had grown to the size of an actual pet! Talk to God when you’re doing this daily purging. When your mind isn’t cluttered with all the “junk” of life, you can make more room for God!
So, give it a try! With our parish rummage sale on April 11, why not declutter your home and your life while helping a very good cause? Save your donate pile and bring it to the parish the week after Easter. It is definitely a win-win situation!