Lent 2012 is three weeks away.
For my pastor friends, this means a season as busy as Advent, a time when ministers work hard to offer their parishioners Bible studies, Lenten reflections, daily devotional booklets, and sermons on the wilderness experience.
For me, Lent marks a time of adding a spiritual practice. It is the time of year when I return to a familiar discipline or discover a new one. Some years, disciplines stick well beyond the 40 days, other years, they do not.
During Lent 2010, I decided to mark my wilderness sojourn with the spiritual practice of vegetarianism. My motivation was two-fold: I wanted try it from a spiritual standpoint and I was gearing up to be married to a veteran vegetarian of 10 years.
I started the journey on Ash Wednesday 2010 after gorging myself on far too many Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) sausage patties and mounds of buttery pancakes. What started out as a stomach ache unfolded into a robust practice.
Whatever my beginnings and motivation, Lenten vegetarianism stirred within me a spiritual awakening toward food. I began to see my nutritional choices as spiritual choices. My husband’s Hindu tradition helped this evolution, as Hindus call food “prasad” or, literally, “grace.”
But how do we see our food choices as spiritual choices? Consider that many Christians call the body a temple (1 Corinthians 6:19). If the body is indeed a holy place, then we, as practitioners, should strive to think carefully about what we place in it. Making mindful choices about food can propel us into a spiritual awakening about all of our life choices. What better way to spend the Lenten season?
Are you searching for a 2012 Lenten practice? Have you tried or considered vegetarianism? Tell us about it.
Resources for the vegetarian Lenten journey: