The End of Lent


As Lent fades into the Triduum tomorrow, let’s reflect on this Lent.  As usual, I started out with a grandiose penance.  I would start following my oldest son’s extremely limited diet.  No grains, no sugar, no milk, no soy.  I thought I’d allow rice, oats, and potatoes to save money.  Solidarity with my son and maybe lose some baby weight to boot.  Before my last pregnancy, I followed this diet for about 18 months.  I’d never felt healthier.  Recommended grain-free living to anyone who would listen to me.  Then morning sickness hit and I beat it to Chick-fil-A just as fast as I could and blew that diet to the moon.

Well, this time, I think I’d blown it again before the First Sunday in Lent.  It was really all about me feeling guilty for eating foods my son can’t and feeling annoyed at my lingering pregnancy weight.  Not exactly what Lent is supposed to be about.  Or maybe it is.  Eating humble pie (chocolate cream, perhaps), recognizing my inability to achieve on my own anything near perfection in parenting or postpartum weight loss, that is probably what Lent is supposed to be about.

I’m looking forward to the Triduum.  We’re planning to pray a children’s version of the ancient Tenebrae service with our kids on Thursday and Friday night.  You pray some psalms and Lamentations by candlelight, extinguishing one candle after another, and finally removing the final candle from the room.  Then, in darkness, the children stomp their feet and bang books together to simulate the earthquake following Christ’s death.  Then the last candle is brought back into the room.  The directions are in the current Magnificat for Holy Week.  I participated in a Tenebrae years ago with some Franciscan sisters, and it was a very solemn and beautiful service.  I imagine ours will be more focused on stomping than solemnity, but that’s okay!