Lent Day 16: Less Saintly

From this morning’s readings:

Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a barren bush in the desert
that enjoys no change of season,
But stands in a lava waste,
a salt and empty earth.

Ho yeah, we’ve got that here.  Two weeks into Lent-o-rama it is.  Cat Hodge writes about the second-week lull here, and Scott Reeves writes about it here.

Ashes have worn off, can’t remember where my sackcloth got to, and I’m now in that phase of Lent where even ordinary-time decent behavior seems to have scooted off and left Wretched Sinner to reign.

Lent will do this to you.  There’s nothing like trying to be a better person to make it clear how much worse things are than you’d been lulled into believing.

I am fortunate because, by complete accident of state-of-life and no smart planning ahead on my part, I picked an intermittent personal penance.  You know the type — get to Adoration once a week, or say a Chaplet on Fridays, or some extra odd or end that you couldn’t do every day if you wanted to, because your life is like that, but which you could manage once a week or on certain days.

Serendipitous help: When that day of the week comes around, you’ve got a built-in ‘reset’ button.   If you’ve fallen into Apathetic Christian Mode, the ridiculousness of performing some superlative act when you can’t even hold together normal Christian life will, perhaps, slap a little remorse and repentance into you.

Lenten Implosion Syndrome is not a bug, it’s a feature.  Lent prepares us for Easter, and Easter is not the day when we saved ourselves.

Franciscan Monastery, Peru.  Stone building lit up against black night sky.  Complejo San Francisco, Arequipa, Perú.
Photo by Diego Delso, of course.  Guessed that as soon as I saw it on Image of the Day. [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.  Click through and scroll down for the brief but enlightening description + implicit exhortation.

Lent Days 10-15: No Silence

Monday evening SuperHusband walks in the door and he’s got a business call, important.  The children know what that means.  Time for quiet in the house.

They are finishing up the evening clean-up, but thoughtfully withdraw from the kitchen so their dear father won’t be disturbed by the clatter of dishes being washed.  Two children, surveying the mess in their bedroom, decide the old sheets of bubble wrap need to be tossed.  Immediately.  Which means bubbles need to be popped, immediately.

Well aware their father is on the phone, they cross the hall to the bathroom, shut the door, and start jumping on those bubbles.

Children never cleaned so vigorously.

I knock and open and thank them for their consideration, but explain that one mustn’t pop bubble wrap at all while someone is taking an important phone call just meters away.

***

And that summarizes the State of Lent, Days 10-15.  FYI the reason for the radio silence here was not a fit of holiness but a significant computer problem which required the services of Senior IT Guy, who was out of town.  Seems to be fixed now and we are back on track.  Perhaps Lent is likewise. We’ll see.

Trappist monk, back to the photographer, sitting at his desk attending to spiritual reading.

Photo by Daniel Tibi (Own work) [CC BY 2.0 de], via Wikimedia Commons.  If you enter the search term “Trappist” in Wikimedia, most of the results are for beer.

Lent Day 7: Evangelizing Key Chains

I have a guest membership at the local Baptist mega-church’s gym.  Before you get scandalized, a “guest” membership means you are not a member of the church.  It lets you use the gym, walking track, and exercise classes, and lets your child attend certain activities that require a gym membership.  It costs $10 the first year and $5 thereafter.

The extra $5 the first year is because you receive a bar code membership tag to put on your key chain, which you check in with when you arrive.  The YMCA has a similar system.  So do grocery stories: You use the loyalty-program membership card to earn rewards either for yourself or the school of your choice, depending on the grocery store.

Last week when I handed over my keys to the oil change guys, there flashed Local Mega Baptist Church.

My gym membership card doesn’t specify what kind of member I am — I suppose if I became a proper member of the congregation, I’d keep my card and just upgrade my status.  (I won’t though — not going to forsake my birthright for unlimited access to the weight room.)

Today when I stopped at the downtown specialty grocery store after dropping off the 5th grader at St. Urban’s, I again handed over my keys in order get my store loyalty-points.  Once again: LM Baptist.

I feel a little bad about this, because sometime I am impatient and cranky at the oil change place.  Sometimes I am not the picture of extroverted cheerfulness at the grocery store.   It makes the Baptists look bad.  I’m sorry, Baptists.  Thank you for letting me use your gym anyway.

File:Ehrenstetten - Ölbergkapelle6.jpg  - Small, picturesque chapel among the hills of vinyards in either southwestern Germany or northeastern France, depending on which unreliable image-description you believe.

Photo: By Taxiarchos228 (Own work) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons.  I don’t know if I belong to this church or not.  I was unable to easily get hold of the particulars.  But I might.  I belong to this giant mega church with all these locations spread around the world, nearly every one of them containing people as cranky as I am.