It's Mardi Gras--and by this point, almost time now to take off our masks for the 40 days of Lent. That's what Lent is, so to speak: an unmasking of the false self. St. Paul actually used much starker terms--"killing the old self" so that a "new self" can rise.
Not that we can do any of that ourselves. All we can do is attempt to cooperate with the process begun in our baptism! And for that, the Church gives us the three typical Lenten practices of fasting, prayer and works of charity.
On Twitter, I asked what people were hoping to "do for Lent" and I got some interesting responses, from "Giving up World of Warcraft" to "praying the Liturgy of the Hours." Other devout practices include "fasting from complaining," "adding Midday prayer to my praying the Liturgy of the Hours" and doing spiritual reading.
The fullest response to the question came on Facebook, from a mom:
"We have a Mercy Cross we built as a family, and the boys will hang hearts on it
for their acts of Mercy during Lent - then it will become our Victory Cross for
the Easter Season. As a family we're giving up our "eating out" and saving the
money for the poor. I'll be giving up chocolate again *sigh* I feel a bit silly
giving up the same thing every year, but it's really the only thing I have to
give up that has any real meaning... it's my one big splurge and indulgence...
:) (I'm such a choco-holic - the darker the better...) My hubby will be giving
up meat all week long (not just on Fridays), and we're adding more spiritual
reading and prayer-time to our days... This Lent I'll be reading the poetry of
St. John of the Cross and *something* by Blessed Mother Teresa (I really do have
to decide what - perhaps I should read Come Be My Light again?)... I went to the
Pauline website and ordered Salvifici Doloris by JP the Great too. :)"
What's your approach to Lent? What's your great hope for Lent this year?