Saturday, February 13, 2016

Failing at Lent (already)

A friend texted to see if I wanted anything from the store, knowing that I’m house bound with squalling sick babies. My response? Something along the lines of, “No thanks! I gave up sweets for Lent. Ugh. I’m an idiot.”

  1. Interesting that I assumed the only thing worth getting from the store was wrapped in shiny paper and made out of dark chocolate.
  2. She had no idea what I had given up, so why make it seem like she’s tempting me and I’m irritated?
  3. I’m obviously thrilled to be mortifying my fleshly desires this season.*
Later that day, while scanning the internet, I happened upon a recipe for Belgian Brownie Cakelets. Not to be distracted by children, or my Lenten sacrifice, I moved on to Salted Caramel Brownies. These were the ones! I love salt and chocolate together. I saved the recipe, contemplated making them for Easter Sunday, then decided maybe they would be better after Easter, having already picked my sweet treats for the holiday.

That afternoon during the kids 22 minutes of overlapping naptime, I picked up my Lenten spiritual reading, The Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales, and received my spiritual direction like a slap in the face.

Chapter VII 
The Second Purification, From All Sinful Affections
They (Israelites reluctantly leaving Egypt, Lot’s wife looking back at Sodom) are like a sick man who abstains from eating melon when the doctor says it would kill him, but who all the while longs for it, talks about it, bargains when he may have it, would at least like just to sniff the perfume, and thinks those who are free to eat of it very fortunate. And so these weak cowardly penitents abstain awhile from sin, but reluctantly; they would fain be able to sin without incurring damnation; they talk with a lingering taste of their sinful deeds, and envy those who are yet indulging in the like.
Baking brownies doesn't have a perfume, but this certainly put me back in a proper Lenten frame of mind. What’s worse is that I voluntarily gave up sweets and yet longed for it, lamented not having it, envied others, and actually looked at pictures of it on the internet to miss it all the more.

Onto a better, blessed Lent!

*This was on Thursday. Yes, the Thursday after Ash Wednesday, the second day of Lent.