Monday, March 1, 2010

The Lenten Resolution: A Challenge to Religion, a Chance to be Open-minded

I begin with a disclaimer: The views represented by this piece are not intended to offend or downplay the importance of religious practice of any individuals. The use of ridicule and sarcasm are put forth only to showcase my impeccable wit, with which God has blessed me ever so abundantly.

Born and raised in an ideal Catholic family setting, even named after a saint and put through Catholic education from Kindergarten to College, I was destined to either A: Marry a good churchgoing catholic boy and breed cute Catholic babies to continue the cycle or B: Become a Nun. I am currently 25 years old and single and nowhere near nunhood.

My parents have always had the best intentions for my soul, over the years having repeatedly emphasized the importance of religion and exclusively practicing the Catholic faith in day-to-day living. I can pretty much play out the Sunday Mass in my head from start to finish and yes, I know the significance of the Eucharist. There is a good 11 x 15 of Jesus as you walk in the front door to my parents’ house, not to mention at least 3 statues of the Virgin Mary and even Jesus in preemie (little nativity baby Jesus) to pubescent (el Divino NiƱo) to early adulthood forms. My car is blessed with Holy water, specifically encased in a spray bottle to spread the Holiness quickly and thoroughly at any given moment, and I have various relics and rosaries housed in purses, pockets, and suitcases for spiritual protection on-the-go. Did I tell you my mother works for the one Catholic TV network? If there were any initial questions or concerns about the severity of my religious upbringing, I hope I have cleared things up for you. My goal however, is not to babble about the Catholic faith. Let’s get back to the point…

I recently decided that Catholicism wasn’t really doing much for me or my “soul”. I put that term in quotations because Karolina and Alex question whether or not I actually have one. Ok, Karo questions, Alex is pretty sure I don’t. To my parents’ dismay, I decided to stop attending mass, seeing as how I would only be lying to myself and others by continuing through the motions on yet another Sunday morning. Don’t get me wrong, church is great; I just want it to actually mean something if I am going to make a habit out of it. As the weeks have gone by, I have chosen to fill my Sundays with other activities—mostly spending time outdoors and a few naps here and there. No lightning bolt yet.

And then comes Lent. Typically, I would give up cake (I love cake) or something else that I really enjoy (ice cream is great too) as a sacrifice to prepare myself for Easter; but as we know, I am now a heathen. So instead, this year I am changing things up a bit. For my Lenten resolution, I am trying a different form of worship/spiritual enlightenment each Sunday in an effort to be more open-minded about religion. I have decided to share my experiences in hopes that you readers will open your minds as well, and ultimately leave your faith and become followers of the Church of T. Sinners welcome. Tithes optional. Or you can just buy me lunch and I will forgive you. PS, I really like sushi.

Last Sunday was the first official Sunday of Lent, but I will keep my summary of that one brief and just mention my attendance to yoga for mental clarity and stretching. My account of Church of the Highlands is much more interesting anyways…

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