Posted by: cmittermeier | March 23, 2011

Lent 2011: my mortification and devotion

I doubt it will surprise anyone that for Lent I chose to give up sweets n’ treats as my mortification (mortification means ‘death to self’).  I’m a bit of a wimp, so I consider the Sundays in Lent as little Easters and allow myself a few cookies, and I strongly believe in celebrating the feasts during Lent (St. Joseph last week and the Annunciation this Friday).  I am hoping that this change will be one I can move forward permanently.  I am doing this for a very specific reason: if the old lifestyle doesn’t die out permanently, any changes in my body will be temporary.

So, if I wanted a permanent change, why did I choose now, Lent to start it?  Doesn’t it give me a subconscious “out” when Easter comes?  Isn’t Lent supposed to be a temporary thing?

I like to think of Lent like getting on the freeway.  Only rarely are our destinations directly on a freeway, in general we can only take the highway so far and then we have to drive on slower roads. We aren’t meant to drive totally on the freeway.  But it wouldn’t make any sense to get off the freeway and drive backwards.  We are supposed to keep going forward with our spirituality.

So though Lent is a temporary state, we can’t reverse it when we finish.  Going back to eating my 200-300 calories of cookies every day after Lent would be backsliding.  But how is it a freeway?

I feel that my 2-3 cookie a day habit is majorly slowing down my weight loss.  If I can break this habit and replace it with a more friendly fuel, I suspect my body will start to let go of the weight.  Getting rid of the mentality that I deserve a daily treat, and replacing it with the reality that sweets are only for special days, and in moderation on those days… that is a major change.  I won’t be able to make that big of a change without a lot of extra help (grace).  This is a major mortification for me – breaking the cycle of daily external gratification will not be easy.  That is why it is a freeway.

I don’t want people to think I’m giving up on being happy every day – its actually the reverse.  I’m trying to find the happy spot apart from physical (specifically eating) gratification.

How am I doing so far?  I’ve slipped up one day.  I also found that the first times I got to have my treat that I wanted to go overboard.  It freaked me out a bit and made me see how much self-control I lack.

My devotion was chosen to help me with the mortification and other areas – I’m doing the stations of the cross.  It is such a wonderful devotion for someone trying to transform themselves!  I highly recommend creating your own stations – there are lots of pictures around the net, or you can colour or draw your own representations.  We placed ours on our stairwell, most staircases have 16-20 stairs, so you can space them easily.

And now I must head off to say my prayers and do my exercises.  Slowly edging closer to my own transfiguration.

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