Priests in Pink (or Rose)

Pope Benedict Pink

 Image source: http://blog.yankehome.com/index.php/real-men-wear-rose/.

“Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.” [Isa. 66:10-11]

With these words the Church introduces Mass on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, also known as Laetare (literally “rejoice”) Sunday. This day signifies that we are just over halfway through Lent. It functions as a spiritual sojourn from our Lenten rigours: the solemn purple is replaced by a delightful rose and we anticipate the joy of the fast-approaching Easter Triduum (see http://catholicism.about.com/od/holydaysandholidays/f/Laetare_Sunday.htm for more info).

Laetare Sunday also provides a useful opportunity to reflect on how Lent has been so far. Inspired by another Catholic blogger (http://www.catholicallyear.com/2014/03/lent-is-hard-to-do-and-other-earth.html?showComment=1396201661436), I’d like to share my Lenten highs and lows:

1. Almsgiving

  • Putting extra into the Sunday collection: if I’m honest, this hasn’t been too much of a challenge (except when I forgot to bring money to Mass and had to double up the following week). Which is probably a sign that it could become a permanent habit rather than just a Lenten penance.
  • Phoning my grandparents once a week: I decided this would be a good idea as my gramps weren’t in good health at the start of Lent (thankfully they are both okay now). However, I haven’t been as consistent as I would have liked. Realistically, it takes me ½ hour out of 168 hours in a week to call them. All I need do is simply schedule in a ½ slot one evening or over the weekend. It really isn’t that hard. Room for improvement here methinks.
  • The “Conorsaurus” swear jar: some of you may have noticed a dinosaur-themed money jar in the Chaplaincy office. This is my swear jar, into which I pop 50p each time I utter a profanity. The current total is £19:59. This penance has made me acutely aware of this bad habit. Many times this Lent, I have gone to swear only to refrain from doing so due to the spectre of the Conorsaurus eating up all my loose change.

Conorsaurus

 Image source: Author’s own.

2. Prayer

  • Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel): the reading group for EG has been a revelation. I don’t usually do things on the spur of the moment, but I’m glad I did. The group has inspired me to be more dedicated in my spiritual reading. We have also been generating some great ideas about spreading the joy of the Gospel in our community. Watch this space.

Evangelii Gaudium

 Image source: http://www.ctsbooks.org/evangelii-gaudium/.

  • Morning silence: I’ve been trying to get up that bit earlier to have ½ hour silence/ Scripture reading in the morning. I had a bit of an off-week last week, but am slowly clawing it back this week. It really does put me in a good place for the rest of the day.

3. Fasting

  • Giving up meat: what I thought would be my hardest Lenten challenge has turned out to be the simplest and most rewarding. Each time I go to prepare a meal, I am reminded of my faith and of the holy season we’re in. Having said this, I would be struggling a lot more were it not for my lovely housemates and community, who have very kindly prepared veggie alternatives when cooking for me.

So that’s where I am so far. The fact that I can see the finish line of Easter (and that glorious first roast dinner) inspires me to take up my Lenten challenges with new vigour for the rest of this blessed season. I hope it does the same for you.

Conor

LDS

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This blog is a forum for discussion of ideas from a faith-based perspective. The views expressed on it are those of the authors and cannot be held to represent those of the Diocese of Nottingham or the University of Nottingham Catholic Chaplaincy.

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