I am a bad Catholic. So bad, in fact, that I didn’t even realize yesterday was Ash Wednesday until I saw someone post about it on Twitter. Yeesh. Sorry, Jesus.
I rarely, if ever, talk about religion on the blog, so let me give you a little background on my religious beliefs. My parents are both Catholic and I went to CCD for so many years I can’t even count. I was never interested in it, but it was just something that I had to do. So when it came time to get confirmed, it didn’t seem like I was making a choice to become a member of the church, it was just kind of a given. After I got confirmed, I was allowed to choose when and how I practiced, and so I simply chose not to. I stopped going to mass and I can’t remember the last time I went to confession (never voluntarily, I can tell you that much).
I’ve avoided going to church for a lot of reasons that I’m not even sure of anymore. My main reason for staying away is that I don’t agree with the Catholic view on today’s popular and controversial issues, i.e. gay people and abortion. But a very wise woman, let’s just call her “mom,” told me that those issues are a very small fraction of what the Catholic church teaches and only seem so big because of how they’re portrayed in the media, and that’s something that has really stuck with me.
Back when I went to church on a regular basis and actually celebrated Lent, my mom also used to say that Lent didn’t have to be about giving something up, it could be about adding something in, something to make your life richer or to benefit you in some way. So instead of not eating sweets for 40 days, you could decide to exercise once a day for 40 days. You get the idea.
So for Lent, I am going back to church. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and yesterday seemed like the perfect time to decide to act on those thoughts. While I don’t necessarily believe you have to go to church to be a good Catholic, it just feels right for me right now. I can’t say whether it will change my whole thinking of the church, hopefully it will open my eyes to all of the good things Catholicism offers. I’m excited to finally be doing things on my own terms, and happy that I event want to do this in the first place. The best part? Tall Guy is going to come with me. He is not religious in any traditional way, but knows a lot about a lot of different religions. We both believe in a “higher power” of some sort, but are open to the idea that it might not be exactly what the Catholic church says. Nonetheless, I’m really looking forward to being able to share this experience with him.
If you celebrate, what will you give up, or “add in,” for Lent this year?