This Wednesday marked the beginning of the 40-day lent season in which the faithful abstain and fast in remembrance of the ultimate sacrifice Jesus Christ made on Calvary.
What is expected of me during this season? As a catholic, I’m going to focus on three main ways of growing closer to God and these are abstinence and fasting as my faith requires and of course spiritual discipline.
For Abstinence, I plan on doing without what I love the most. As a Musoga, I love chapatti made by my tribes mate Hajj Ssula who prepares it just the way I like it. His Rolex is also one to die for. So this lent season I decided to avoid both the chapattis and rolex although it will be very hard because every time I’m heading to my apartment in the evening, he greets me with a smile and greets me ‘Munha, okobha otya?’ meaning ‘how you are doing’.
I wonder what I am supposed to say him. That I am fasting and I won’t support your business for forty days? Anyway, I will find a way to politely tell my Muslim friend to hold on till Easter.
There are particular abstinence days during this season which are Fridays, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday that I can abstain my Chapatti and Rolex but remember that the canon law states that, Catholics over the age of 14 are expected to abstain from eating of meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays throughout the Lenten Season (Canon 1250 -1253) so I’m in it for the whole 40 days.
We are also required to take up some sort of personal penance for example giving up a favorite TV show or going to your favorite hangout. Giving up these things isn’t some sort of endurance test, but these acts are done to draw the faithful closer to Christ.
The Lenten penance means that the person should devote that time they would have spent watching the TV show to prayer or spending time with family instead of watching another TV channel. So I have to make time for family this season and luckily enough, most members are in the city because of the recent episode of my Dad’s health that occurred in February. We shall be hoping for mercy healing as we continuously pray for his quick recovery.
We should also consider that our acts of penance don’t harm us in any way. The acts should not interfere with our health or physical being. I think if one has ulcers they should not fast for the whole day and aggravate their sickness. Do something that will not cause bodily harm.
According to our the Catholic Church, those aged 18 – 59 must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (Canon 97). On such days, those fasting may eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals, sufficient to maintain strength. However, together, the smaller meals should not equal a full meal. So yes I will fast and I believe you can do it too.
During this season we should also exercise spiritual discipline to our lives. I always pray for 5 minutes daily but my new discipline is to pray for 10 minutes daily and to give more this season because the more we give, the more we receive. Let’s do this fellow Christians because we can.