Wednesday will mark the beginning of the 23rd Lenten season I’ve suffered with the Church since my conversion, and I always approach it with equal parts pathological optimism and trembling fear. I approach everything with pathological optimism, so I always come up with the most austere self-deprivations. Some years I’m more successful than others in the actual living out of my plan. And the more closely I adhere to my Ash Wednesday promises, the more glorious is the eventual celebration of Easter. Prayer and fasting does for my soul what a healthy diet and exercise does for my body.
Just like liver and English peas, self-deprivation is good for me, but I don’t like it. At all. And it may be a fig newton of my imagination, but it seems to me that terrible things always happen during Lent, in my own little circle and in the world at large. I believe that all the prayer and fasting going on in the body of Christ makes the opposition very cranky. And when that happens, all hell breaks loose.
This year, as always, I’m hoping for the best and dreading the worst. If I’m successful, my body will whine like the crankiest two-year-old, and my soul will soar. By Easter Sunday, I should be a shadow of my lazy, butter-duck self. So tomorrow on Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, I will eat, drink and be ever so merry, in preparation for a forty day belly crawl. I have the feeling this will be a particularly brutal Lent, so I’m bulking up on the celebration. Feel free to join me today for the newly proclaimed feast (which I made up) of Mardi Luni, or Fat Monday, as well. Cheers!