Blogging has been almost non-existent around here lately, so I decided to challenge myself (and anyone on Facebook who is interested) by attempting to blog for the 40 days of Lent just as I did for the Preachers Institute’s Advent blogging exercise.  I even got Fr. Peck’s cyber-blessings to do this, so here goes…

Today is Clean Monday.  Interestingly, in Greek the term is Kathara Deutera rather than kathari – an adverb is used rather than an adjective.  “Cleanly” Monday is more awkward but probably more accurate.  For most of us, this begins the true Lenten fast.  This year I am doing the complete vegan thing, with exceptions for fish at mercy meals and the like.  We emphasize the spiritual aspect of fasting – the introspection, almsgiving and focus on prayer that goes with it rather than the food part, but there is also a physical aspect to this.  Fasting has its origins, I imagine, as a “preview of hell” – not eating food is bad for you and makes you miserable.  Our fasting, which is not a total abstention from food as it was back in the day, is an exercise in focus and sacrifice.  It also has many health benefits.  I am increasingly convinced that a vegan, or at the very least a vegetarian, lifestyle is the way to go.  One of these Lenten seasons I am going to go vegan and never go back.  I am not going to go into it too much here – there is a ton of material available on the web analyzing the benefits and potential risks of a vegan lifestyle.  I am writing this merely to emphasize that while the spiritual stuff is more important for us (and as the Bible tells us what comes out of the mouth is more important than what goes into it) we should not discount the cleansing goodness of the Lenten eating lifestyle.  More tomorrow.  Tonight we have compline/apodeipnon service, as we will every Monday at the Cathedral during Lent.  We have not done this service since long before I came to Worcester, so it will be a nice restoration as well as another tool to help us refocus ourselves during the forty days.

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