Circle March 6 on your calendar. That’s when all the laughter dies in sorrow.
That’s Ash Wednesday, when penance hunts us down and holds us hostage until April 21 — Easter Sunday.
We’re usually loving every minute of the Lenten season, right?
After all, what’s not to like?
The holy trinity of Lenten sacrifice is fasting, abstinence and almsgiving – three of mankind’s favorite endeavors.
Well, perhaps not.
But we must atone somehow for our sins. We’re all born sinners. That’s what we do.
Granted, it’s not all our fault. If Eve doesn’t bite into that forbidden fruit, we all would be saints prancing around in the Garden of Eden.
And there would be no need for Lent.
But we must play with the cards our ancestors Adam and Eve dealt us. Consider them to be the first blackjack dealers dealing out destruction – unless we repent for our sins.
Repentance is a celestial car wash when it comes to making a dirty soul sparkle like fireworks in a catacomb.
Lent, by definition, is a cocoon of redemption if we pour our souls into in.
I must confess that I am not a Lenten superstar.
I never do almsgiving because exactly what alms are remains a mystery to me. And you can’t give what you don’t know.
I have fasted at times but haven’t made a habit out it. Hunger makes cowards of us all.
A rather casual Catholic, I usually abstain from eating meat on Lenten Fridays. I don’t do this out of religious fervor but because we are taught that if we don’t comply, our Pillsbury Doughboy bodies will be transformed into toasted marshmallows in the fires of hell.
Even with the specter of eternal damnation staring me in the face, I find remembering not to eat meat on Lenten Fridays to be a real cross to bear. I could blame early dementia, but God knows that’s not so.
I used to give up candy for Lent. I later narrowed that to hard candy only.
I used to give up alcohol for Lent. I later narrowed that to hard liquor only.
I used to give up red meat for Lent. I later narrowed that to red meat that’s still moving only.
I used to give up gambling for Lent. I later narrowed that to gambling at the Monte Carlo Casino only.
I used to give up dating former Miss Universes for Lent. I later narrowed that to Miss Universe 1957 only.
This year I’m giving up giving up for Lent.
I hope God forgives me when it’s time to pony up at the Pearly Gates.