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February 16, 2010

Fat Tuesday

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

“…for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” — Genesis 3:19

As we begin to hone our mental and spiritual facets in preparation for the start of Lent tomorrow with Ash Wednesday, our Lenten disciplines come into focus. Many of us will enter this season by “denying” ourselves a luxury that we love in an attempt to direct our minds towards the very Christian reality that we are in need of a Savior. Denial is a spiritual test as much as it is a physical one. When we discuss sin, it is in its very core doing what God tells us that we should not do. The Lenten discipline, where we “give up” something we love in favor of something good, shows in its very human form the hardship of sin.

Lenten denials take untold numbers of forms. I know of a number of people who are challenging themselves to eat better and exercise more; others are stopping smoking, drinking soda, or yes, even eating dessert.

I’ve taken up the discipline of no television. Of course, this will not be an easy. Yet, my time will be filled with more important disciplines – reading,studying, and meditating on the Word of God; beginning writing projects I’ve put off for years; and reorganizing my life, somewhat.

Yes, it is a challenging Lenten discipline, to say to the least. But every time I yearn to watch some Olympic sport or the New York Rangers as they fight for a playoff spot, the reality of temptation will stare me in the face.

But that is for tomorrow.

Today is commonly known as Fat Tuesday, a time when Christians are supposed to prepare themselves for these disciplines by gorging themselves on whatever they are going to deny themselves during Lent. I’ve never been a fan of Fat Tuesday. It just seems like a dopey way to prepare for Lent by overindulging in everything. For example, if someone is giving up smoking for Lent, then does that mean that they are supposed to smoke a carton of cigarettes today? On the other hand, if someone is giving up fast food, then does it mean they have to gorge themselves on Big Macs and Whoppers today?

Fat Tuesday – one glimmering example of sinfulness.

By the way, I am not going to overindulge myself by sitting in front of the television today, far from it. My schedule is full, though not packed. I’ll be in and out of the office – both home and church offices, mind you – all day.

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