This is the first year in which I’ve tried to keep Lent. Well, I’ve occasionally said I’d give something up in other years but my resolution has only held for a day or two, if that. This year, at RCIA, I was given proper instruction about the season and I really wanted to do it. It seemed especially important as I knew I’d be received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil and so I made a proper effort.
I decided to give up caffeine and attend Mass daily. Now, I have to confess vested interests in both cases. I suffer from migraines and anxiety which can both be exacerbated by caffeine. And daily Mass makes me feel wonderful.
And how did I do? Well, I managed fairly well on the caffeine front. I had the occasional Diet Coke or ‘proper’ coffee on a Sunday but, other than that, no caffeine passed my lips during Lent. And I got through the exhaustion and headaches giving it up caused. I have picked up the habit again now Lent is over but am having maybe one coffee a day and drinking decaff the rest of the time. The migraine clusters have gone and I’m just having the odd headache and the anxiety is much improved.
Daily Mass was less successful. I didn’t count, but I’d estimate I made it to weekday Mass three or four times at most. And I don’t even have a good excuse for missing it. I’d sleep in or not feel well or the weather’d be horrible. Or I’d fall into the ‘I’ll start again on Monday’ syndrome of perfectionism. It isn’t that I don’t want to go – I do. But I’m finding the getting there harder than I thought it would be and that has continued into this Easter season. On Monday I went at the wrong time and found the Church locked. Tuesday, I slept in and today I’m nursing a cold and don’t plan to go out (or get dressed!)
I slipped into another change during Lent – I didn’t read any secular fiction. I did read Christian fiction/non-fiction and some secular non-fiction. And I enjoyed it. I rather think I may do the same at Advent and Lent in future. It was really good to focus my leisure on the worthwhile rather than the froth of the literary world. I’m actually feeling rather reluctant to dive back into my usual reading habits – and that’s something I wasn’t expecting.
And it all culminated in the Easter Vigil. But that, as they say, is another blog post! How was Lent for you?