7 Takes: Staying in Sync with the Church – and why I hate these spontaneous fast days.

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about haunted houses, affordable weekend wines, and #TWEETSONAPLANE

This week: 7 takes, domestic Church edition.

Next week: 7 takes, Sinner’s Guide to NFP Giveaway edition.  More at the bottom.


Here’s what: the Pope and US Bishops are driving me nuts with their spur-of-the-moment fasting gigs, called as only bachelors could call them.  Reason #2 of course is that I’m a whiner when it comes to fasting.  But reason #1 is legit: It takes advance planning to stay in sync with the Church.

1. Sunday.  Ha, Sunday.  Day of rest, right? Which means you need to:

  • Get the shopping done ahead of time, so you aren’t running out on Sunday for that One Thing You Really Need.
  • Have a meal plan in place that isn’t going to drive you nuts with drudgery.  See #7.
  • Do the chores.  By Saturday.  Or wait till Monday.
  • Get the laundry off the line, if the line is in the middle of some place you also have R&R.  Or if you’ll worry about it.
  • Schedule hectic, energy-draining social engagements for Saturday.  Because Sunday = Rest, right? Not Birthday Party with 20 Seven Year Olds.  That might sometimes be fun, but it’s never restful.

It’s not actually that hard to do this, btw. But you have to train yourself to do it.  The pay off is huge.  Not at all like those other things you make yourself do, where it’s a lot of work and then things are just normal or something.  You work for Sunday, and then you get happy relaxing time.  A whole day.  It’s good.

2. Friday.  Friday was the hardest thing about reverting, until we remembered Sunday and pushed the cycle forward not quite 48 hours.  In the world I grew up in, Friday was Party Day.  Early in our marriage (pre-reversion), Friday evening Jon & I would slap steaks on the grill, open the bottle of red, and celebrate another week over, another weekend under way.  Festive Friday.  Feasting Friday.  Never Fasting Friday.

3.  So you move forward Friday’s feast to Sunday, and it works.  Grocery shop on Saturday (so you have good stuff on hand for Sunday), and by Friday you’ll be down to leftovers, dried-out bread, and the choice between fish sticks and mac-n-cheese.

4.  You have to make the kids clean the house on Saturday, even though you’re tired from all week.  Or else it’ll be a wreck come Sunday.  Which isn’t restful.  (It’ll still be a wreck come Sunday night.  But you can at least give yourself those minutes before the kids wake up Sunday morning, right?)

5.  Feast Days.  Feast Days are like Sundays tossed into the middle of the week.  So suddenly the vigil becomes, chore-wise, a second Saturday.  [Saturday, recall: Jesus spent it in the grave, but you spend it doing twice as much work so that you can put your feet up on Sunday.  Your end of the deal isn’t that bad, actually.]

6. Fasting.  When you have a pile of kids, or a pile of work, or a pile of real life, so that you are completely stretched to your limit most of time, fasting takes work.  It takes planning. It takes a stockpile of mental energy so you have the will not to eat when your body says otherwise.

The trouble being, you’re already doling out your reserves of energy and patience and motivation bit by truly needed bit.  You’re already figuring out how to maximize your “go” so that you can get done what needs to be done.  You know how retired people have clean houses and sit around doing hobbies and stuff, in between sitting around resting from their hobbies and stuff?  Middle-aged people aren’t there (I hope for your sake).   Kicking back for a quiet day of meditation and scrabble is lovely and and all, but it’s not something you the married lady with young children and no servants can organize on a moment’s notice.

Bachelors.  They need more toddlers in their lives, to help them with this.

7. Leaving that dreadful reality behind and getting back to a tip for a happy Sunday:  If you want to eat something good on Sunday, but it will require you to cook a bit on the day, make it something really, really good.  Make it something that you don’t get eat on other days.  Then you’ll find cooking it to be relaxing and exciting instead of just more work.

7.5.  Or bacon.

7.55 Or coffee cake, acquired on Saturday night.

7.555 Or coffee cake and bacon.  Sunday food.


So like  I said up top, this same time & place next week, I’ll be hosting a giveway for Simcha Fisher’s new book, The Sinners Guide to NFP.  FYI: It is absolutely acceptable to come here for the sole purpose of trying to win the book, and then never come back again.  Doesn’t bother me.

–> Since it’s all so awkward, deciding whether Friday November 1st ought to be spent goofing off online (feast day!), or staying unplugged (holy day!), and then All Soul’s on the 2nd isn’t much easier to figure out, and then there’s Sunday . . . the combox will stay open until midnight Monday, and the winner will be announced Tuesday the 5th.  At which time one lucky person will get the secret information about how have it all: Nine children and expertise on periodic continence.

Cover art courtesy of http://www.patheos.com/blogs/simchafisher/the-sinners-guide-to-nfp/.

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