Lame or Not?

Every year, it's the same discussion, do we continue to abstain and practice our Lenten sacrifice on the Sundays of Lent. Is this an East Coast thing? When I converted to Catholicism nearly 15 years ago we lived in the Southwest and I never heard of Sundays not really being a part of Lent. Eight years ago we moved to the DC area, and many of our family friends let us in on this little custom. The belief is Sundays are little observances of the Resurrection and Catholics are not supposed to make penitential sacrifices on Sundays, they are supposed to celebrate, therefore, Sundays during Lent are not part of Lent (Lent is 40 days long, but if you do the math, from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday is 46 days, remove the Sundays and you have 40 days of Lent).

I have always thought this idea was completely lame. I mean, if you're going to make a sacrifice during Lent, MAKE A SACRIFICE! Is it really that difficult? Anyhow, this year we made a compromise, we left the decision to observe Sundays of Lent with sacrificial penance a personal choice, rather than a family devotion. Some of us are continuing to give up our desserts, etc., on Sundays, others are not. I guess some of us are just holier than others and have greater will power--hopefully ya'll know I'm just kidding :-)

What do you think, is this tradition silly? What does your family do on Sundays during Lent?


Tonya said…
Last week, I was just reading that Sundays are to be a celebration day, rather than a sacrificial day. I had wondered how you had 40 days instead of 46, and that solved it for me. Of course, not being Catholic, we don't always give up stuff during Lent. I like the way you're doing it though! It should be a matter of what you feel convicted of doing. Maybe some people just need more penance than others! :-)
Maurisa said…
Ah, Tonya! A Biblical perspective on this, thank you! Of course, I'm not looking for permission to "cheat" on my Lenten promises. We looked into this and found that it really is a matter of personal conviction. Choosing to give something up at all is really a personal conviction. I still think its lame not to count Sundays, but then you can see my own pride showing through in that. Maybe I am the one who needs more penance! LOL!
Sophie Miriam said…
I see arguments for both sides. One the one hand, every Sunday is a little Easter. On the other hand, the CCL says that Easter runs from Ash Wednesday until Easter and the priest still wears purple on Sunday. We don't say alleluia on Sundays in Lent.

Personally, I don't think it makes that much difference. It's all optional, anyway. I do think that if you decide not to give something up for Lent, you should decide whether or not you're giving it up on Sundays ahead of time.
Sophie Miriam said…
Oh, and I think it's a DC area thing. Everywhere I've lived in the US has been East coast, and I never heard of it before coming to Bowie.
Maurisa said…

Thanks for your thoughts :-) I agree, this decision should be made before Ash Wednesday and not later, say when the first Sunday of Lent rolls around :/

I do think it is a bit of an East Coast thing, as I've seen discussions about this on other message boards from Philly, New York, and Boston.
Walt said…
Hey Mau,

I have many thoughts on this issue (most of them would be offensive to your Catholic would get the humor but others might just want to burn me at the stake and call me an Apostate). My feeling is God is less concerned with length or lack of length of time as He is with the intent of our heart. If I am going to observe Lent then prior to Lent starting I set my heart on what I think God wants me to sacrifice in observance to what He sacriced for us. Taking "Sundays off" comes down to the intent of the individual. If they are doing it because they see that Sundays should be observed as a day of celebration then great. But if they are doing it as a "loop-hole" then my question is "Why observe Lent in the first place?" In my situation my sacrifice in observance to Lent has been NOT cleaning around the house. This has helped me enjoy my experience this year and I have never felt closer to God! (Sorry I couldn't be completely serious...I have fans who depend on me!)
Love Ya Mau!

Dawn said…
I've only thought about this this year but here's what I came up with:

"Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast" (Mark 2:19)

If Sundays are like having the bridegroom with us then it would be better to rejoice, right? If breaking our lenten fast on Sundays could somehow be done in a thankful and celebratory way then that could be good.
Anonymous said…
One of the things I gave up this Lent was my dishwasher. I know God doesn't want me to use it on Sundays during this Lent. How do I know that? The evening before Lent began I used up the very last of my dishwasher soap (I had to shake it to get enough to be able to use the dishwasher that last wash) It was a sign as far as Im concerned:)
Tonya said…
Totally off subject - just want you to know I miss you on FB! :-) It has been so nice to be able to "keep up" somewhat with you on there. I still love reading your blog too! Glad you didn't give up both - I might have freaked out! :-)

And what's up with Walt being serious at all? I was a little concerned. Glad he threw in the silly stuff at the end. Otherwise you might have thought he was sick or something. :-)

We're hoping to find out Monday where the AF is assigning us next. We're hoping to stay here, but this whole thing is not in our hands!
Our Family said…
Just wanted to let you know that we first heard about this from a friend that grew up in the Midwest.. so I don't think its an east coast thing.

And a big shout our to Walt (the whole family are all big fans!).....I would encourage him to start writing his own blog but I follow too many blogs ;-)
Our Family said…
oops I meant shout "out" not "our"
Walt said…
Hey Mau

First a shout out to all of my peeps and second...I have considered starting my own blog but can't come up with a name...anyone have any suggestions?

Love Ya Mau

Party of Eleven said…
Wow! A lot of good points made :) I grew up having Sundays "off" during Lent. My grandmother (still) gives up chocolate every year, but come Sunday, watch out. The lady loves her chocolate so I know that during the week it is a huge sacrifice for her (think eating a little piece of chocolate after almost every meal, and yes, I have inherited this lovely "need").
Michelle said…
My husband, like Sophie (above), pointed out that the priests wear purple on Sundays (and they are called the Sundays of LENT), so I don't think Sundays are a day "off". But I am pretty lax myself on Sundays. Guess I'm just not very holy?

I also think there is a huge dfference between permitting yourself cream in your coffee on Sundays vs. having a hot fudge sundae with nuts and whipped cream. "Easing up" doesn't have to mean completely forgetting that it is Lent, KWIM?

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