Probably sweets, at least de facto. I always feel wierd eating sweets during Lent. Maybe because I associate sweets with celebration, or at least a special occasion. (But if Mr. M gets me something sweet tomorrow, I won't reject it =))
The easy one: I'm giving up all hot drinks. It's only "easy" in comparison to the other thing I'm giving up, because I do love hot drinks. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc. Such a pleasure on a chilly, damp day in late winter/early spring. I didn't want to give up anything essential, like a whole food group, because I'm trying to get in shape and be really healthy. So the extra perk of hot drinks it is. (I do relax from my Lenten sacrifices on Sundays, so I'll probably still enjoy a Sunday espresso with Mr. M.)
The hard one: this came to me last Sunday during mass. I realized that what I need to give up for Lent is my desire for a child. No, that doesn't sound quite the way I mean it. It's not so much "give up" as "offer up." I'm not giving up on trying to conceive, or asking God to take away my desire for motherhood. But I do want to offer up my most precious desire to God. Put more concretely: when the desire for a child in my womb or in my arms pierces my heart, as it so often does, I want to offer that desire up to God and say, sincerely, "I trust in You. I trust You with this desire. I trust You with my future children, if there are any. I trust You to take care of my heart in the meantime. Thy will be done." etc. etc. (So much easier to theorize about than to actually do!)
|The Presentation, by Guercino|
I think at the heart of this Lenten spiritual exercise, if you will, is the recognition that every good thing on earth can become an idol. I think that's what hit me at mass, as I sat in the choir loft and looked at a stained glass window of the Presentation. Mary offering her child to God. I've reflected on that image, that Mystery, many times during mass. Even our Blessed Mother - especially our Blessed Mother! - had to offer back to God the most precious thing in her life, her Son. She could have clung to Him, refused to give Him back to God, reminded God that she was the Mother of the Messiah, and so forth. But she didn't. She trusted God enough to trust Him with the life of her Son, even to the foot of the cross and the blackness of the tomb. I want to have that kind of trust. I want to say with Mary "Here I am - Let thy will be done to me" (hence the name of my blog). I want to learn how to live with an unfulfilled longing (motherhood) and yet be perfectly content because God loves me. I want to have the "holy indifference" of St. Ignatius to say that I prefer not health to sickness, riches to poverty, motherhood to barrenness, etc., but that I prefer whatever God wills as His means of sanctification and what will draw me close to Him.
I apologize - this all sounds so ethereally pious, even as I'm writing it. I guess I'm hoping that Lent will help me translate all the true, good, and beautiful maxims (Trust God with all your heart...Thy will be done...holy indifference, and so on) into actual flesh and blood in my day to day life. I have a long ways to go, but I'm excited to see what fruits God brings out of my meager offering. Onward, LENT!