Blessed waning Carnevale (the correct spelling, as it translates as “Meat, goodbye” carne vale). As such, it is a Catholic celebration when properly observed, and it lasts for weeks, not just one day. Alas, most of us no longer really say goodbye to meat/eggs/butter for all of Lent, as used to be required of all the faithful. Being a Keto/no carbs person for over 20 years, I am thankful for that.
Another thing that used to be required was actual fasting. As in, days with zero food. If you have never done it, you really should. It’s not even hard, especially when there are only two days when it is currently required. Examine your conscience; do you really think fasting means three meals a day, as the current discipline suggests?
Zero. Just do it. Once you’ve done it once, you will actually look forward to it. Come back and call me a liar if I’m wrong.
It would be different if it were multiple days or weeks in a row of course, in which case some sustenance would be needed. But for ONE day, come on. Zero calories, folks. Water, coffee, and no-calorie electrolytes are okay. It really is a fine way to start off towards your Lenten goals. Note well, those latter two things DO violate the Eucharistic Fast, which allows only water to be taken.
Speaking of goals, commit to them in writing. Post them on your fridge or some other prominent place. Here are some things that have been going through my head:
Commit to a limited number of things you will practice DAILY. Needless to say, this starts with the Rosary. If you can commit to daily Mass, it is highly recommended. Daily Mass in the TLM is really special during Lent, because each day has its own proper Mass, every single day of Lent. It is like being on a journey. Rosary and Mass, and we are now committed to one hour per day.
Now stop. Before you go further, do NOT attempt to take on the workload of a cloistered religious. You will fail, probably by the end of the week, get really discouraged, and be off to a rotten Lent. Instead, start small, and add things if you are able. Make your list aspirational, for sure, but start out smaller.
What about other structured prayer? Last year I did Benedictus and Divine Intimacy every day. This year I am moving mental prayer up the priority list, putting Adoration first. If you have never sat in quiet conversation with our Lord, or if it has been a long time, maybe try to get back to it. 15 minutes after Mass is a good place to start, but getting the solid hour once a week is where the heavy lifting gets done. The most effective way to do this is attempt to converse for the first 30 minutes, then shut up and listen for the next 30. He speaks in whispers.
Next on my list are books. How big is that stack of books you ordered, but haven’t read yet? It’s embarrassing. Constantly confessing wasting too much time on the internet, yet that stack hasn’t gotten any smaller. I am doing something about that this Lent.
There are still a few hours left, and I still have a few more things I’m mulling. Leave your best ideas in the combox!
Two more resources on fasting HERE and HERE.
Blessed Lent, everyone.