That’s right tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday followed by Ash Wednesday.
The Hubbell Pew began as a Lenten discipline to do something positive during Lent because I found it impossible to abstain from Oatmeal Raisin Cookies for the whole 45 days of Lent.
That’s right Lent is not forty days long. Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday is actually 46 days. Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday is forty-four. I will write later during Lent about when Lent ends — an ongoing discussion among fasters. The reason that people think about it as a forty-day event is that many Christians who observe Lent don’t count Sundays. They are automatically considered days of joy and are not considered days of fasting. Which does mean that, technically, those who are “giving up” things for Lent can break their fasts on Sundays, although ardent fasters say you have to continue to fast. Then there is the whole subject of Feast days. Did I say Lent is a flexible and forgiving regimen?
Courtesy of my friend Rob, I learned a lot about Lent I didn’t know. For example, we have Lent to thank for McDonald’s filet of fish sandwich. Lou Groen, the Montfort Heights, Ohio, store owner came up with the idea because the local population was 87% Catholic. While McDonald’s executives were initially skeptical of the idea, a competition held on Good Friday of 1962 proved that the market was hungry for fish, especially Ohio Catholics.
There are other acknowledged exceptions to fasting and not eating meat on Friday’s (an actual Canon of the Catholic Church for all over the age of 14). Those exceptions include sickness, pregnancy, breast feeding, extreme manual labor, etc. Interestingly, if you’re attending a meal and cannot avoid eating without causing your host and fellow guests embarrassment then you are permitted to break your fast. My father who was raised a Catholic was granted an exception to not eating meat on Friday because he played football. Getting more flexible by the moment aren’t we? How about the rules governing abstinence from meat do not include liquids made from meat, like soup?
The Lenten season, like most things, is what you make of it, and the most wonderful thing about Lent is the set period once a year of penance and reflection — A time for prayer, meditation, service of others, and denial of self. Who amongst us doesn’t need a healthy dose.
You have two days left to set a few goals and set your face. I hope one of those goals is to set a few minutes of your day to join me by reading the Hubbell Pew, and if so moved write me about your experience in the comments section at thehubbellpew.com.