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Fasting and Abstinence Lenten Grading System

Fail – No fasting and abstinence

Pitiful Pass – Fasting and abstinence only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday

Commendable – Fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent; OR abstinence only on all days of Lent

Commendable+ – Fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent

Commendable++ – Fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent

Super Holy – Fasting and abstinence on ALL days of Lent (except Sundays, of course)

Which grade do you want to get? LOL! Seriously speaking though, we should aim for the grade we can honestly achieve. Aiming for the Super Holy grade when you’ve never fasted or abstained in your life is a sure formula for failure (unless God gives you an abundance of extra graces which you shouldn’t automatically expect).

When we aim for the grade we can honestly achieve, it doesn’t mean we are lowering the bar. The Super Holy grade remains, objectively speaking, the highest grade one can achieve, and congratulations to those who can achieve this, but accepting that we can only honestly achieve a lower grade – that is, we are honestly not merely being soft in our Lenten sacrifice – is an expression of humility which is a good thing.

Here’s my Lenten voluntary sacrifice:

Since I workout 5-6 days a week, I can’t aim for the Super Holy grade. This year, I’m aiming for the Commendable++ grade. In addition, I’m giving up iPad games and commenting on YouTube (the latter of which as an introvert I weirdly enjoy).

I can’t give up much because I enjoy very little worldly pleasures. I seldom watch TV. I am not addicted to games or the internet. I don’t look at food primarily as a pleasure rather primarily as fuel. I don’t use make-up, only powder and tinted lip balm. And until I wear out 50% of my clothes I have promised myself to not shop again.

What to do? Instead of giving up things, I do things which I dislike or which I find difficult. As an INTJ, it is very difficult for me to tolerate irrational practices, but I understand that it is not always good to automatically criticize people. It is also very difficult for me to be a subordinate to an irrational superior. When I am asked to do something which I know is not going to work, or is not the most efficient way, I find it difficult to accept my subordinate role. In fact, I consider it a humiliating experience. This humiliation is the voluntary suffering, i.e. the additional suffering, I offer this Lent.

What are you going to offer up?

 

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