Friday, March 11

Lent 2011

Another Ash Wednesday, another Lent, another opportunity to deepen one's faith through sacrifice and spiritual activities. The plan this season was to practice a Muslim fast, absolutely no foods or drinks beside water during the daylight hours. It's something I've wanted to try for a few years now, but as I gave it further thought in the days leading up to Mardi Gras, it began to seem less and less like a good idea. Not for any particular physical reason. Millions of Muslims manage it for the duration of Ramadan without suffering ill effects. The problem was what sort of guest it would make me. If I went out with friends for lunch, if I was invited to a friend's home for dinner before sunset, what sort of impression would it set if I insisted on holding to my fast? A poor one, that's what, and I would hate to be a poor guest. So that plan will be scuttled for a few years until I manage to spend Ramadan in a Muslim nation where the entire community is behind the fast. It's on my list of things to do before I die.

Instead I'm trying something much more mundane, reading the Bible daily. I've tried this before, beginning with Genesis and working my way through sometime in high school. That failed miserably, somewhere in Leviticus understandably, so I'm trying to follow the day's selected readings. The United States Council of Bishops makes it really easy, posting the entirety of the day's chapters and verses from the New American Bible Revised Edition translation on their website. I don't even have to open a physical Bible. Maybe I'll make it carry this on next year with a more Catholic twist and read the papal encyclicals and bulls.

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