Mardi Gras is over and now that Lent begins it is time to repent for all the crass, vulgar, indulgent and legion other sinful things that I have done since last Lent. I wonder if forty days is long enough. More than the long stretch of Ordinary Time during the summer, more even than Advent and, masochistic as it sounds, I like Lent. It is a time for sackcloth and ashes, recognizing mortality and attempts to whittle away at imperfection. Since I tend to spend most of the year in a state similar to this, Lent is a natural favorite. So, I am supposed to sacrifice something for the forty days and I am supposed to strive to improve something. This is supposed to make me a better person, and what it boils down to is discipline. If I have the grit to hold on to what I am working on and the gumption to deny myself some sort of pleasure then I should end up stronger. [possibly more annoying to people, but that is there problem].
This Lent I am giving up sweetmeats, candies, pastries [not muffins though] and most importantly, chocolate. If I want something sweet, fruit will do. I am going to improve my patience [especially while driving], which has been in relative short supply since my time in NYC] and to admit when I am wrong, or ignorant on some topic. [this will be hard because I never know what I am talking about].
So I’m walking around today with a smudge mark on my head. Someone told me I look like I’ve been punched. I’m also fasting. No meat. I had a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and will have macaroni and cheese for dinner. I might put some tuna and some veggies into the macaroni as well. Even though Fish on Fridays [and Ash Wednesday] was initially started to feed poor fishermen, I feel that it is useful still. Now it is another sacrifice that is a reminder of the sacrifice that Lent culminates in.
Many of the people bitching about The Passion of the Christ, which opens today, complain that it is violent or anti-Semitic or historically inaccurate or blah blah blah. Well, it is supposed to be violent, it is about the arrest, torture and crucifixion of a person. As for anti-Semitism, there might be subtleties that I am unaware of [not having seen the film] but people who complain that it makes the Jews seem responsible for killing Jesus are fools. Jews and Romans or Romans and Jews if you don’t like the order of the billing, were there. The type of people that killed Jesus isn’t the point, that people killed Jesus is the point. The fact that it opens on Ash Wednesday, when the Church enters a time of repentence and recognition of mortality [Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return] is no coincidence. Humans suffer and die. Jesus, a human, suffered and died. Other humans did this to him. I was taught that Jesus went through the torture and indignity and crucifixion willingly, for humanity. I really have no desire to see The Passion of the Christ, I have not seen any Mel Gibson interviews [since I don’t have cable] but I think the point of his film is to make us aware just how much was sacrificed. I don’t talk about religion often because it makes me sounds like a fanatic instead of just a lunatic. If you are still with me I am surprised.