Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lenten Ideas

For the Eastern Christian Church, Lent begins very soon. Usually, I would know the kind of fasting and additional spiritual excercises to take on because the Church prescribes a fast and gives some boundaries for an appropriate rule. This year, I am not quite sure what to do. I have asked this question of my priest, but he has given me some guidelines, and not a rule necessarily. I was wondering what other people have found as appropriate rules during the Great Fast for times of life like I am in right now.

Should I go meatless and trust God, or is it more important that I get the nutrients in meat for the baby's sake? Beans and rice are a full protein and the Western Rite fast does not remove dairy products, so I won't have to worry about getting enough calcium. I remember Kelly saying that she would make simple meals, instead of trying to cook something fancy for dinner. Simplifying life is defnitely in the Lenten spirit.

My priest has said not to reduce the quantity of food, as is also the Lenten practice. Is there any other way to get similar spiritual benefits that would come with the quantity reduction?

Also, Fr. recommended giving up something outside of food, such as watching movies or going out to dinner. Any ideas here? Maybe the internet when I am not at work. That is an area that I indulge in.
I certainly plan on doing some spring cleanng this Lenten season, cleaning out the home while cleaning out the heart. Cleaning is so healing and so human. We have a lot of extra things around the house- clothes, dvd's, odds and ends, various appliances that we don't necessarily use. I loved Bethany and Evan's "Two Tunic Day" last year, where they went through their house finding things that they didn't need ( the second tunic) and invited their friends over to pick out what they need. So, if anyone needs anything in particular, I will keep the blog updated.


Jen said...

Hi, Katie.
I've given up sweets or sugar before and that was helpful in saying "no" to my appetite without withholding anything healthy that baby and my body need.

I don't think your chosen fast needs to be difficult or involved--pregnancy and full-time work are already hard enough! God has already alloted you your Lenten load (the whole "woman will be saved through child bearing" thing). You don't have to try to out do Him. :o) You will have plenty of opportunities for self-sacrifice and self-denial from now on and especially after baby comes.

That's my two cents, anyway. Thanks for asking.

Jen :o)

Ma Torg said...

What we did last Lent during my pregnancy wiht Edmund was simple meals, cheap meals (so, sometimes it was actually cheaper and simpler to use a meal with ground beef than an involved veggie meal) and we saved money and did a charity thing around Holy Week. We made packets and gave themt o the Homeless but you could use your saved moeny and donate it to any charity or even a person you know who is in need.

The purpose of fasting from food is to fast unto prayer and good works. You save money and time to give to God.

Still, it often feels not very lenten to approach things this way at first. However, when you will find (especially if you are love cooking adn food) that it does become a struggle to ask when planning your menu: could I plan something cheaper or simpler? This is also an ideal time for you and Nathan to start adopting a family prayer routine that will incorporate baby very, very soon.

Bethany said...

I second Kelly's recommendation of beginning a family prayer routine as part of Lent. Clara and I do morning prayers now--that's been a very good way to introduce spiritual discpline in our home.

I have to agree with Jen, too, that pregnancy itself can be very Lenten in spirit. You have to deny yourself a lot of things and be very conscious of doing what is right for yourself and your baby.

I know that I'm not Orthodox and don't have as developed ideas regarding fasts, but, for what it's worth, I would advise you to find a fast that helps you to simplify and perhaps prepares you for the task ahead: motherhood. When I was pregnant for Lent, I abstained from negative language. I wanted to get used to speaking in positive ways so that my daughter would use her words positively. I also fasted from visual media because I was watching too much TV--or, DVDs actually. And I wanted to have other ways of relaxing that would be more appropriate once I became a mother.

Speaking of two tunics, anyone want an Italian marble top coffee table? :)