Monday, February 27, 2006

Lent: Best. Idea. Ever.

0 Lent (There's no such thing, but I'm tired of green)
7 Hilary

Whoa. Jonathan Bennett at Ancient and Future Catholic Musings has offered us a reading plan for the Church Fathers over the Lenten period. This would be a great thing to take up, particularly if you've never read them before. Let me know if you decide to do it; maybe we can chat about the writings together (HT: Land of Hope and Glory).

For my own Lenten discipline - as I've said - I want to shift more into a "listening" posture. To that end, I'm determined to do the "contemplative prayer" thing with greater frequency, pray the office, and attempt to attend morning Mass three times each week. I'm also going to pick up Miroslav Volf's Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace. It's the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lenten book, and Bill Bean is selling it at a nice price, by the way.

I don't say this to sound "spiritual;" to paraphrase someone else, I require this practices because I am "unspiritual." I'm also a student, so I get to structure my time any way I wish. I think it's an appropriate practice to "waste" time with Jesus, anyway. I've also used some "soft language" in a very intentional fashion: I'm attempting these disciplines, not so I can say that I have done them, but for the sake of being with Jesus more and listening more. If I don't do everything I'd like in just the way I'd like, it's not the end of the world, and Jesus isn't going to get all upset. We shouldn't get all upset either, and we'd do well to remember that.

Praying the Office takes about 15 minutes twice a day, and 5-10 minutes in the evening. If you'd like suggestions on getting started, please ask.

You can find short, basic instruction on Centering Prayer here.

Bill has more information on Volf's book here.

So what's everybody else doing to keep a Holy Lent? Don't worry about sounding humble, you won't impress me (wink). What practices have you found helpful in the past? Will this be your first Lenten season? Do you choose not to keep it? Have a chat back at me.

Update: theological nitpicking: when I said "attend mass," I mean, "celebration of the mysteries" or "performance of the Eucharist." There, that's better. We don't watch it, we do it. I was getting all vexed in my righteous soul on that one.

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JHearne said...

The wife and I are going to read through St. John of the Cross's "Dark Night of the Soul" together. My second time. Her first time. I'm also going to read St. Theresa of Avila's "Interior Castle."

I did contemplation last year with some moderate tenacity. I prefer to read mystical theology for Lent.

I think it's "neat" to "do Lent" after growing up in a Church that didn't even do Advent.

Anonymous said...

Haha! Raised dispie... we hated catholics and anything to do with the christian church.. I mean... So, I am new to this whole church calender thing. I 'll try to keep up this time.


Anonymous said...

I'm gonna get on board with the reading through the church fathers plan, just so you know. Maybe we can compare some notes, who knows, maybe even do a podcast?
Peace you terrier

Kyle said...

Thanks, Josh. I hope you both find it edifying.

Mike, I got your back. :0)

A., I think we can definately do ourselves a podcast at some point. It would be really interesting to discuss our reflections on all of that.

Expax said...

Maybe even a communal blog? Though I would be glad to get on the podcasting band wagon and do readings of the passages.

Anonymous said...

Given my low church/charismatic background I've never really gotten into Lent all that much but I'm determined to get stuck in this year.

Expax said...

So Lent is on Wednesday. Does anyone want to do a communal blog or a community thing? Lets here some voices.

Kyle said...

Sorry man, I'm sure it would be great, but it's not for me.

Anonymous said...

Next year, Ben.