Preparation for Lent with Thomas à Kempis and Elizabeth Gilbert

My Lenten journey and Elizabeth Gilbert's book have an odd connection

Those who choose to follow you, Lord, by despising the world and by perfect mortification of their fleshly desires, are known to be very wise, for they are led from vanity to truth and from fleshly pleasure to spiritual purity.    Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ, Book III, Chapter XXXIV

Here we are at Lent again.  Last year I was a brand new blogger, and used my blog to meditate on Letting Go–that was my Lenten spiritual discipline.

This year, I’ve decided to do three things:

  • Eat healthily on a food stamp budget; I will give the difference between my Lent budget and my regular budget to the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.
  • Increase my prayer and meditation life; through daily mass, reading of the Divine Office, and meditation.
  • Reach out to family and friends on a regular basis.  Time goes so swiftly by and I often find it’s weeks or even months between calls or emails to the people I love most, so I have pledged to contact three friends/family members a week.

I have not decided how to format my efforts in this blog, but I’m sure it will come to me.  In any case, as with last year, I intend to write at least three times a week to track my journey.

Tomorrow, when Fat Tuesday is officially over, if I haven’t eaten all the sweets in the house in my own celebration of Fat Tuesday, I’ll throw them away.   I will also attend Mass.  And I have a built-in opportunity to do #3, as my son has curated a music gig and has asked for the support of his family and friends there.

Although I have posted Thomas a Kempis’s quote as inspiration, I have no delusions of spiritual grandeur.  Actually, looking at my three goals, maybe my true inspiration is Elizabeth Gilbert, because I’m hoping that I will simply arrive at Easter with a more mindful way of eating, praying, and loving.



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