Friday, February 15, 2013

On Keeping the Love in Lent

I am either the world’s best mom or the world’s worst Catholic or neither, but we celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday.

Remember when I said I was indifferent to chocolate? (I think this might have been on Facebook.) Well, yesterday was definitely not the case.

I felt a bit guilty giving out treat bags full of candy because—Hello?! Giving up candy for Lent is a total no-brainer!—but then I reminded myself of the end goal of Lent.

That would be love.The end goal of Lent is love.

(Sounds like a Hallmark card, doesn’t it? A liturgical Hallmark card, which has its own special section in the store.)

Plus we absolutely needed to celebrate Valentine’s Day because I completely messed up Mardi Gras. A big, big screw-up, you know? As in not making strawberry crèpes for supper as planned but instead… having a doozy of a disagreement with my husband that took the entire rest of the day to work through.

Like I said, it was a doozy. We were both in line for confession on Ash Wednesday, and you can just bet that priest knew we were married.

But the beauty of Lent is its new beginnings, and that’s what we did on Ash Wednesday. That’s what we all did—at Mass, as a family. It was wonderful! Every bit as wonderful as a day of penance could and should be, because I was reminded yet again that EVERYTHING is grace. I was humbled; I was dust; and I loved my husband for putting up with me.

And the best part about our St.Valentine’s Day was not the chocolate after all. Yes, the treat bags & the ice-skating were fun, but they are not what I’ll remember most. What I’ll remember most is sharing a simple supper—shrimp cocktail, salad, mac & cheese—while going around the table and expressing our love.

Yes, love. As in “What I love about [this family member] is the way he/she…”

All eight of us shared something kind about each other, and as we did, people laughed & blushed & sat up a bit straighter. There is an awful lot of teasing that goes on in a big family—and among the teenage boys, a fair share of trash talking—so it was good to pull back and build each another up.

It was...Lenten, you know? It was very Lenten. 

And then we indulged in chocolate brownies (baked in heart-shaped silicone cups, of course) and watched the movie Bolt as a family.

That was, Angela assured me, very much the right thing to do.

* * * * *

Comments are closed for Lent. If you knew me, and I think you do, 
you know what a penance this is.


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