It's here, my friends. Lent is almost upon us.
You may have noticed that the HomeFront Corp. is a Roman Catholic operation, and as such we will be undertaking the traditional Lenten practices of fasting, prayer, and alms giving.
In recent years, I have tried to focus more deeply on what I need to do to nourish my faith throughout these coming forty days. It is more than just going without coffee (arhg!) or chocolate (ack!). It is about going into the desert of my interior spiritual life and emerging at Easter with my glorious risen Lord.
I know that sounds deep, but what I mean to say is that I've spent a lot of time being superficially sacrificial. I've given up things not with the goal of uniting my suffering with Christ's, but with a rote sense of responsibility to my Church. And with the hopes of a slimmer waistline six weeks later. Not exactly the way to grow in my faith, you see.
As a teenager, I never understood why my mother said that Lent was her favorite part of the Church year. I thought maybe she had been huffing incense. Clearly, Christmas was THE Church holiday, hands down.
Now I am starting to see Lent a little more clearly. I'm not saying that it's my favorite, but it's meaning and value has only increased in my life.
I consider this as a time of purification; a time to test the mettle of my faith, to find the chinks in my spiritual armor. It is always humbling to realize how weak that armor can be at times.
I think fasting gets a pretty bad rap in our culture at large, even though it is practiced by every major religion. We don't want to deny ourselves anything, but we cannot be open to God if we are full.
The question that each person must answer is "Of what am I so full that I cannot be open to the will of God?" Is it food, drink, excessive shopping, gossiping, television, blogging, improperly seeking the adulation of others? The list can go on and on, and, for me, it is convicting.
Many people question the practice of fasting at all -- what's the point? Why not just do something extra good instead? In thinking about it, for me, the question of fasting comes down to this: Do I love God enough to reject something that gives me pleasure?
Really think about that for a minute, because it's tougher than it sounds and humans are extraordinarily good at justification. This is where the rubber hits the road, my friends.
All of my thinking has lead me to this conclusion: I need to turn off the comments to my blog during Lent.
I first started contemplating the idea when Jen mentioned it over at Conversion Diary. My initial reaction was: That's hardcore! She is so good -- I would NEVER be able to do that.
And that was the moment when I think I knew I had to do it. If there was something I thought I could NEVER do -- for GOD -- then I was too attached to that thing.
I tried to get out of it, my friends, I really did. I thought of all kinds of reasons why I should not turn off my comments, and they were good ones: your kind thoughts bolster me on tough days; I have learned so much more about my faith and other faiths from you all; I have laughed like crazy at some of your comments and we all know that's the best medicine. The immediacy of blogging relationships is one of the things I like best about this whole set-up. Comparatively, I don't even have that many commenters. I mean, I wouldn't want them to be offended, right?
The list went on and on.
All of the above is true. I do value your comments, they do cheer me up on down days, I have learned so much from you, I do think the immediacy of blogging is part of its charm, and of course I don't want you to feel offended.
But the long and short of it is this: at this point I am too attached to comments for the wrong reason.
The ugly truth is that at times I need them so that I can feel like a good enough mom, good enough Catholic, good enough person, etc . . . We all like pats on the back, but all that stuff really needs to come from God and from me.
I don't know if what I write here is enough to keep you coming back. I don't know if it is good enough to keep you mutely hanging around here until April 12, and that scares me a little.
But I do know that if I don't do this, I will regret it at a very deep level because it is ultimately not about something as small as blogging. It is about something as big as what God wants from me.
PS: I will still be hopping and bopping around my favorite blogs, leaving you little notes, and you are ALWAYS welcome to email me (please? pretty please?), since I am not quite as hungry for email as I am for comments.