WHAT DID YOU GIVE UP? 「あぜりあ」本八幡・西船橋・津田沼・佐倉
TO MY LOVING AND KIND FRIENDS IN JAPAN !!!
Hey! Today is another Saturday so here I am so wanting very much to be with you! I can not believe how the time is just flying away. At least however, when I spend time with you and write my weekly Blog for you to read, time stops for a wee while for both of us and we read and relax and enjoy ourselves. I hope you can find yourselves doing that today as you read my latest Blog #47 titled: WHAT DID YOU GIVE UP? And if you find yourselves with questions after you have read this Blog, please do not hesitate to send your questions to me. I will happily answer them. You may also send along your comments. I would love to hear what you think about my Blogs. Thank You My Dear Friends!
BLOG : # 47 : WHAT DID YOU GIVE UP?
As I, your Mary Ann-san, mentioned in a prior Blog, my Lent this year began on Ash Wednesday, which happened to Valentine’s Day this year. This had never happened before and we Roman Catholics — at least the ones here — were asking for and hoping for a dispensation from our Bishop so that we would be able to eat Meat that day and celebrate Valentine’s Day fully. Our Bishop however said no. There would be no dispensation like he sometimes gives on St. Patrick’s Day when THAT special falls on a Lenten Friday and we are all anxious to have our Corned Beef And Cabbage Supper. Ash Wednesday would be celebrated like it should be. By going to Mass and receiving our Ashes. This is done by the Priest who makes the Sign Of The Cross on our foreheads with the ashes of what were last year’s Palm Leaves that we got last year on Palm Sunday which is the weekend before Easter. The Mass is beautiful of course and so begins the Season of LENT.
What is Lent? LENT is a time of preparation. It is a 40 day journey of Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving, beginning on Ash Wednesday — which NEXT YEAR falls on the 6th of March, 2019 — and helps us to encounter ourselves, our neighbors, and our God anew. PRAYER: Deepens our relationship with Jesus Christ and helps us reflect on our lives. FASTING: Removes obstacles between us and God. GIVING: Helps us serve those in need and live Jesus’ message of LOVE.
The GIVING UP part. Each year at Lent we chose something to GIVE UP for 40 days. We put something aside that we enjoy to better encounter our God and our neighbors. We empty ourselves of old habits to make helping people in need a part of our daily routine. Making sacrifices during Lent gives us hope and changes us for the better.
As to the question (and the title of this week’s Blog #47) : WHAT DID YOU GIVE UP? This is a question a lot of Catholics, might ask each other. What did you give up for Lent? I gave up Cookies for Lent. Oh. That’s easy you say, and you say you can do it. But think about it. No Cookies for 40 days. It is tough but I am doing pretty good so far. Oh. I have given up harder stuff. One year I gave up MAYONNAISE. (Did you know that you can’t make a decent sandwich without mayonnaise? Unless you are having Peanut Butter and Jelly of course!). Another year I gave up COFFEE for 40 days. (Man. Talk about TOUGH. Wow! And I was working at that time too!). Then there was the year I gave up my COMPUTER for 40 days. (That meant no working on my novel or doing e-mails or playing computer games and all the stuff that goes with it.). You might wonder too, if I have ever given up any other foods too. Yep! One year I gave up all meats for my 40 days of Lent. (I sure did miss my Hamburgers and my Steaks and my Pork — especially my Bacon! But I had Veggies, Salads, Fish instead). I think my hardest Lent was the 40 days without my Coffee. And I think doing without my Mayonnaise came in at a very close 2nd.
Some people however do not GIVE UP anything for Lent. They DO something instead that brings themselves and others, closer to God.
About the FASTING thing. When we are told to FAST and ABSTAIN from meat on Ash Wednesday, and on Good Friday — the Friday before Easter Sunday — and during all Fridays of Lent — it goes like this: you have two small meals without meat. And one full meal without meat (yes, you can have fish). Keep in mind though that the two small meals COMBINED CAN NOT EQUAL one full meal. And NO snacks in between meals.
These rules apply to all Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59. After you reach age 60, you do not have to FAST but you DO still have to abstain from meat on those days.
To help us through Lent with the Almsgiving (Money) as well as the Prayer part, we are given a special LENTEN CALENDAR from Church to take home. Along with a “Rice Bowl” from the CRS (Catholic Relief Services) to put the money in to send to them by way of our Church. The calendar has reflections to help us along during our Lenten Journey. It has stories about our brothers and sisters around the world about how they make their living. It has meatless recipes to try especially on the Lenten Fridays. It also suggests on certain days how much money to give to The Rice Bowl to help these families. FOR EXAMPLE: Give 25 cents to your Rice Bowl for each time someone helped you. ANOTHER EXAMPLE: Give 50 cents to your Rice Bowl for each friend you met today. A THIRD EXAMPLE: Give 50 cents to your Rice Bowl for each pet that lives in your home. And here also is an example for your Lenten Fridays. Try one of the meatless recipes and please remember to put in your Rice Bowl the money you saved by eating simply.
EXAMPLE OF THIS: If you went to the store and bought Hamburger to make Chili, and the Hamburger costs: $8.00 but you had a meatless meal instead because it was a Lenten Friday and the ingredients cost you $3.00, you would put the money you saved that week ($5.00) into the Rice Bowl. And at the end of Lent, on Easter Sunday (The first of April this year) you turn in your Rice Bowl during the Collection Time during Mass and through the Church it goes to the Catholic Relief Services. (I write a check out and put it in the Bowl for the amount I have worked so hard to give during Lent!).
And yes, I look forward to Lent every year and doing all this! And the BLESSINGS I receive from God for doing all this are amazing! Trust me! I know!
From Your Mary Ann-san