WARNING! This post contains thoughts on a religious institution, several C.S. Lewis quotes, and excessive religious sentiment! Read at your own risk!
Well, since it’s Ash Wednesday, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on that. Bear in mind, I don’t often post about religion, I mostly post about my worldview, which just happens to include my religion. (FYI, I’m Roman Catholic and proud of it! :-D) I don’t know why it is that I don’t post much about religion in general, unless it’s the general attitude that some people have that one should never discuss religion or politics in public, and if there’s anything that’s public, the Internet definitely counts. Personally, I think that attitude is stupid. After all, there is such a thing as courteous disagreement. 😉 Besides, it says somewhere in the New Testament (sorry, but I’ve always been bad with verse numbers) that God detests lukewarm people as a class (though He loves the individuals, He doesn’t like that they sit on the fence! Which makes me wonder… why do they do that? Isn’t it uncomfortable?!)
First of all, though I mostly write fantasy, my books are all Christian fiction. I classify them as fantasy, but they are also defined by my religious beliefs. It all comes about very organically; I’m enthusiastic about what I believe in, so I put in the assumptions and mind-set of a Christian worldview. Fantasy by choice; Christian fiction organically. 😉 C.S. Lewis once said,
The sword flashes because the warrior is desperately defending himself, not because he is waving it about in the air to make it flash.
Oh, how much I love quoting Lewis… He also said,
I would not be converted to Buddhism by a book about Buddhism, but by the Buddhist assumptions in all the other books.
So this is kind of sneaky, but in my opinion it’s a good kind of sneaky. ;-P Though, I should also note, if you’re not Christian and don’t want to be converted to Christianity, you’re not likely to be converted by my humble work. People can be excessively dogged that way. (Though if everyone else is doing it, they’ll do it too. Funny how that works…)
The second point I want to make is mainly directed at the Christians among my readers. 🙂 I go to the Traditional Latin Mass, which is slightly different from the Novus Ordo in its approach to Lent. We’re not so much focused on Mardi Gras and that one last fling before Lent, and we tend to ease in more gently (which is scientifically proven to get better results. Hey! Why in the world did I not think to post on this before?! Gah. Better late than never…) We call the first three Sundays before Lent “Septuagaesima” (“Seventy Days”: A reference to number of days before Easter, though it’s not entirely accurate;) “Sexigaesima” (which has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with the number six; “sex” is “six” in Latin. Hence, “Sixty Days”;) and “Quinquagaesima” (“Fifty Days.”) I just love the way they have these nice long words in Latin, don’t you?! … *silence* *crickets chirp*
Anyway, during that time, the Gloria is omitted from the Kyriale (the ordinary of the Mass, basically the prayers they say every single time you’re at Mass, in contrast to the Introit and other special prayers, and the readings) just like in Lent, the vestments and altar cloths are purple (the liturgical color associated with Lent), and the homilies and sermons are all about Lent, with helpful suggestions on penitence.
So, for the last three Sundays, we’ve been hearing ideas for Lent. One of the best ones I’ve heard this year is that our penitences should both be positive (as in, adding something to our daily regimen) and negative (taking something away, or “giving up.”) For instance, we may choose to add in some extra prayers each day, and give up chocolate for Lent. (No, I am not telling you what I’m giving up. It kind of defeats the purpose. “When you fast, wash your face, and smile,” Jesus said. I think that’s from the New American Version, though. I dislike that translation, it doesn’t have the same elegance of language as the Douai-Rheims version does. 😉 ) Another suggestion was that we should choose one of our greatest faults to work on and eliminate.
Finally, in closing, I should note that Lent is like having a detox. There are so many negative things in society today, and Lent helps us purge our systems of them. Personally, I highly encourage fasting (which is also healthful if you do it right! Two for the price of one!) and praying the Stations of the Cross (or Way of the Cross, if you prefer,) on Fridays in Lent. Saying a daily Rosary is something I have yet to conquer, for some reason, but I’d like to try.
Expect more posts on Lent and spiritual detox on Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent (PINK! YAY! I LOVE PINK! Err… rose. :-P), Passion Sunday (which is the Fifth Sunday,) Palm Sunday (which you should know already ;-P), and all through Holy Week. I’ll try to get out a virtual Easter card for you all, too. 😉 Please post suggestions for good E-cards and whatnot in the comments. Also, I downloaded my novel Bound to the Flame on a USB stick, so to maintain you in your fasting and abstinence, new chapters will be posted every few days!!! 😀
Thank you so much for reading, and God Bless! Everyone who read all the way to the bottom gets a virtual candle to light in church! (If you want me to light a real candle for you at my church, please comment and request it! Of course, if I get a whole bunch of people who want me to light one for them, I may have to light one candle for multiple people, due to budget constraints… ;-P)
Thanks again, y’all are a wonderful crowd! 😀 Again, God Bless you and have a wonderful, fruitful and blessed Lent!!!