What the F is Lent, and how do I prepare for it?

This is not necessarily an expository post, so much as a plea for guidance and a time-stamp of ignorance. The Catholic Liturgical Year and Calendar are expansive and way beyond my knowledge. Since I’ve discovered the world of Catholic Radio (Mater Dei Radio where I live), my scope of all things Catholic has increased exponentially. That being said, my general knowledge about how to do those Catholic things not as much.

For example, things I’ve learned in the last three months include: the Liturgical Year started on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2016, (Advent is a whole ‘nother beast that I have yet to understand), after Christmas begins Sunday Masses done in “Ordinary Time” which means the Priests and Fathers wear green (a random fact I overheard from another Cradle Catholic in RCIA that I have not verified), Ash Wednesday is the first Wednesday in March signifying the beginning of Lent, aaaanndddd….then we wait until Christmas?

The level of overwhelm I feel at knowing that being Catholic, at least for me, is more than just showing up on Holy Days of Obligation and making confession once a year is tremendous. My level of knowledge is abyssal. Do I have any idea the significance of these “Ordinary” versus “Non-ordinary” times, the changes in robe/vestment color meaning, and when the coming Holy Days of Obligation are? No, sir. And do I even know if what I’ve written in 100% inaccurate? Not presently. Pray for me – for I am working diligently to remedy this.

Still, I find it an amusing irony that I would run an Instagram page, @blessedcatholicwomen, describe the saints lives and their feast days, but have no idea the significance of the day aside from the information I can cultivate from catholic.org/saints. I think I started this backwards.

This week in RCIA, we are having an “open forum” as our director describes it, catered to by the Monsignor of our parish. I sent the director an email asking if we could discuss Lent, its purpose, what God expects of me during this time and whatnot. I also supplemented that question to inquire about Feast Days, their purpose, do we actually feast or just partake in daily mass and ask for their intercession? She said no.

So as I sit at write to you now, I know nothing about Lent. Well… Two things. One: Lent is where we give things or a thing up for the duration of that month, and two…fish is eaten on Fridays? (When I tried to ask my Cradle Catholic boyfriend if Fish Friday was weekly or just during Lent, he had no idea. A foundation of knowledge that one.) I understand even less than what I think I know.

Fortunately for us believing Christians, there is Scripture that promotes a comfort of knowledge and ignorance. Proverbs 1:7, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and knowledge” and Proverbs 18:15, “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.” There an infinitely more passages of guidance in the Bible.

Regrettably, because I feel inundated with all the practices and knowledge that I have to learn, my prayer life is lacking… Something I may write on soon. But I’ll leave the questions: what preparation do you typically make for lent, and what advice would you leave for an incoming Catholic?


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