Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The most pathetic Catholic ever

I win the award...The Most Pathetic Catholic Ever award.

If you asked any member of my family yesterday evening, except maybe the one who lives on campus, if mom is a very nice mom, you would get a resounding, "Absolutely not."

I admit, I hate Ash Wednesday.

I am pathetic.

I "can't have" a Biscoff with my tea, a yogurt between lunch and dinner, a carrot stick while I prep veggies for dinner, and it makes me cranky. I don't mind going to Mass, and wearing my ashes all day, but tell me I have to limit myself to two small meals and three altogether and I get cranky.

Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.

Nothing tastes better than breakfast on the Thursday after Ash Wednesday. And my breakfast was lovely slow cooker steel cut oats, with toasted almonds and blueberries on top.

I think it's fabulous that Valentine's Day landed on the day after Ash Wednesday and I have all my meals planned, within normal Lenten limits, of course.

I saw this funny meme the other day and laughed and laughed.

Ain't that the truth? Just give up one bunch of "I can'ts" for another.

I've written about Lenten fasting before. I'm not big on sharing my fasts -- you know the whole left hand / right hand thing -- though I may (or may not) be attempting to make the same sacrifice I wrote about in that linked to post (you can see I'm already doing a great job).

When I read this meditation by Caryll Houselander in yesterday's Magnificat, I was just dumbstruck. Yes, Yes, Yes. She got it.

As to your Lent...I can only tell you my own experience.  A mass of good resolutions, I think, are apt to end up in disappointment and to make one depressed.  Also direct fault-uprooting:  it makes one concentrate too much on self, and that can be so depressing.  The only resolution I have ever found works is:  "Whenever I want to think of myself, I will think of God."  Now, this does not mean, "I will make a long meditation on God," but just some short sharp answer, so to speak, to my thought of self, in God.  For example:
"I am lonely, misunderstood, etc."
"The loneliness of Christ at his trial; the misunderstanding even of his closest friends."
"I have made a fool of myself."
"Christ mocked--he felt it; he put the mocking first in foretelling his Passion--'The Son of Man shall be mocked, etc.'--made a fool of, before all whom he loved."
"I can't go on, unhelped."
"Christ couldn't.  He couldn't carry the cross without help; he was grateful for human sympathy--Mary Magdalene--his words on that occasion--other examples as they suggest themselves--just pictures that flash through the mind."  This practice becomes a habit, and it is the habit which has saved me from despair!...

Different people have different approaches to Christ.  He has become all things--infant, child, man--so that we all can approach him in the way easiest for us.  The best is to use that way to our heart's content, and not to trouble about any other.


  1. I highly disagree. I'd give you the award for the most honest and forthright Catholic! I dislike Ash Wednesday, also. Yesterday was a total wash for me, doctors and other appointments. I had to ask DH to stay home to help with the boys so I could handle it all.

    I'm grateful to fill up my tummy a bit more today!

    I, too, was just floored by Houselander's quote. Spot on for me, too!

  2. I don't think you are pathetic. Thank you for being honest.

    I, too, struggle with fasting. I am not very good at it. I get the snacking in between meals, but I always wonder about the size of the meal (too big - too small).

    I can abstain from something pretty easily, but it is harder for me to fast.

  3. Well, if you are pathetic, then I am too.

    I feel the same way, minus the meals planned.

    (which makes me kind of pathetic I guess)

    God meets you where you are. He knows your heart dear Barbara!

  4. I think everyone has a bit of a Fail on Ash Wednesday! It's a sharp reminder at the beginning of Lent that we can only do it with Christ---who has been through it all. I failed in more than one way yesterday, and Meg asked me, as I sat eating at the fish fry, what I gave up. I said all grains, and she pointedly looked at my plate of mixed veggies and said "Like corn?" Funny, but that was the *minor* part of my *major* fail!

  5. Never mind that I saw the title of this blog post and thought you must have written about me (smile).....

    What you DID write was something that many of us can IDENTIFY WITH. Thank you. And thank you for sharing what you did from Caryll Houselander. O wow. This might be my main Lenten meditation from day to day. I don't subscribe to Magnificat, so would not have seen this if you hadn't shared it here.

    I suspect this post has been a huge help to many of us! Thank you again.

  6. Wonderful post, Barbara! I felt like I was starving to death yesterday! And freezing cold all day. I'm pathetic too. :)

  7. I somehow came across your blog....I recently bought a scapular from you on Etsy. BTW, I am interested in purchasing another one.

  8. Oh no, definitely not the most pathetic! Heck, I didn't even get to Mass yesterday! I am in such sad shape mentally, emotionally, spiritually these days that all I could do was say, "Lord, you can see what a mess I am. PLease take my efforts and make them into something, anything!"

    And I was so hungry, too! I ended up just going to bed because I was afraid I would chuck it all and start eating something after dinner.

  9. Love the honesty, Barbara. Thanks for keeping it real. I think you just about summed up how most of us feel about Ash Wednesday.

  10. Thank you for sharing your feelings. I was pretty much cold and disagreeable all day, so I'm glad I wasn't in the public eye. Thank you also for the Lenten ideas and encouragement to pray. We have a lot to pray about, don't we? --- Rosemary

  11. Oh, I hear you loud and clear and I'm right there with you. I cannot fast to save my life. Thankfully I've been except for the past 8 years, just about, thanks for pregnancy & breastfeeding...but I still feel like the excemption doesn't really apply when the breastfeedier is 2y2mo old and mostly nursing at night. Haha. Well, I tried eating less and then I paid for it with a huge headache..so it's no use. God understands. I'm not skipping meals or attempting to fast on Good Friday. I will just give up things I like, like reading blogs, eating chocolate or putting cream in my sugar..you know..but I just can't skip the meals.

  12. Caryll Houselander has such a way with helping us to know our true selves and with bringing us into right relationship with God, doesn't she? I'm so grateful for all of her wisdom! Bless you, Barbara!

  13. Caryll Houselander gets right to the heart of the matter, doesn't she? Love her!


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!