Anyone recognize themselves in the following?
"Lenten discipline: beginning tomorrow,
I will fast every Wednesday and Friday.
Not a morsel of chocolate passes my lips during Lent
I will give up wine, beer, and Hellman's mayonnaise...
I will eat only a vegetarian diet
I will drink my coffee black...
I will refrain from eating potato chips, granola bars, cheese puffs, cookies, cakes, pastries, donuts, pretzels, crackers, hard candies, cheese, salsa, pickles, olives, shrimp, crab, wontons, egg rolls, burritos, marinated artichoke hearts, vegetables beginning with the letter "A," and all condiments.
I will only have bread and water
I will subsist on the Host alone...."
And by this time, we have created a level of expectation that no mortal can follow, a recipe for failure, and subsequent guilt. The obsession in giving up often becomes bigger than the giving up itself, and the time and energy devoted towards The Sacrifice takes you away from the goal of the sacrifice: to draw closer to God. Or so it has been in my experience.
So this Lent the goal of my fasting discipline will be simple: Eat to Live, not Live to Eat.
If I can only follow sincerely this simple dictum, I will have made a change in my philosophy that will be far more effective than the mere excision of a food (or drink) from my daily diet. It will, I hope, put me in sympathy with those millions who never ask, "What do you want for dinner" but rather, "Will there be dinner tonight?"
Oh--and I will cut out chocolate..and fast every Wednesday and Friday..and eat only beans and rice...