Lent: Fasting from Sin and Chocolate

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Within 24 hours, CEPEP erased all signs of the debauchery and ‘wotlessness’ that is Carnival, and with one stroke of an ashy thumb, those that caused it have been absolved.
As a ‘born and raised’ Catholic, I’ll let you know now that it’s never that easy, and penance for celebrating the flesh for two days on the road is 40 days of not eating any. If you’re a ‘meat mout’, this abstinence from meat is very well penance, and nothing but fish for the next month and a half can seem dismal. Still, if you love fish it’s not that much of a sacrifice now is it? Here is where the heretics start ‘pshh-ing’, and rolling their eyes at the Roman Catholics with ‘shaky’ values, and where I jump in to not only defend the Catholics, but also the Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Lutherans.
On a daily basis, most of us know we’ll eat when we’re hungry, how we’ll get to and from the places we want to go, and where the income to pay for our wants and needs will come from. Most of us lead comfortable lives and unconsciously so.  We still find time to complain about the weather, while we’re driving our new car or that we need to lose weight while chowing down on Fridays. At the heart of Lent is the belief that stripping away the comforts of the flesh will lead to a more ardent and gratuitous spirit, and a body in control of its desires.
If the intention of fasting for the Lenten season is properly followed, people seeking a righteous life may find themselves truly being able to balance the temptations of the flesh and tap into a ‘self’ that understands the benefits of sacrifice.
“What kinda sacrifice is giving up chocolate?” someone from the audience asks.  Well, if chocolate is your guilty pleasure – a vice, which gives you an uninhibited joy – then as harmless as it really is, in the grand scheme of souls headed to heaven or hell, giving it up for 40 days can truly strengthen willpower – the muscle of the spirit. Giving it up can give you perspective on the role it plays in your life, whether harmless or hurtful.
My best friend gives up meat every Lent, which often leads to fasts much longer than 40 days. It’s a healthier way of life she confesses, although she still has yet to fully commit to being a vegetarian. Other Catholics I know try harder tests – giving up cigarettes, alcohol, or even food for certain hours a day during Lent. If they stay strong to the commitment for those sacred days, the body loses its ‘want’, the faith in the spirit grows stronger, and the mind reminds us of what is possible with sacrifice.  Still, that’s for those who can commit.
Ask most Trinis, and, if they’re truly honest, they’ll admit this, we suck at commitment. We won’t commit to arriving exactly on time and prefer to add ‘ish’ to the end of o’clock. One minute we’re supporting change; in less than a year, we’re ready to start a mutiny. Funnily enough, Catholics are flexible folks too, and stumbling one day, but trooping through the next 39 means that you’re at least willing to run the race.
If a daily doubles is your ‘breakfast of champions’, then an entire work week without it may seem like torture, especially if you have to pass the doubles man on your way to work. Even the most seasoned ‘fasters’ stumble, so making it over that first ‘mountain’, the first week, is the test of willpower to determine whether you’ll make it to the finish line. Well, it’s not literally a race right?
First of all, what you choose to abstain from is a personal decision. Traditionally it was meat, and most Catholics won’t eat any on Fridays during the Lenten period, but it could be anything. I’m sure you saw “40 Nights” when Josh Hartnett decides to give up sex for Lent, but is tempted through every part of it. No one believes he’s going to make it. His co-workers even started taking bets on how long he would last.  I can’t remember how it ends, but I know for certain he suffered… and there was mind-blowing sex when his fast ended.
So yeah, if sex is your water on a desert island, then wouldn’t it be empowering to flex that willpower, survive ‘blue’ everything, and be rewarded with the kind of sex Sting (the singer) likes to boast he’s having?
Whether it’s forty days or ten, the moment you decide to give up a guilty pleasure the weight of that decision begins to grow exponentially, as the days go on. Decide to give up corn beef and guess what? It’s all you see when you check the pot. Cooling the sweet tooth? Office party! Who say doughnuts? The significant other all of a sudden wants to buy you exotic pastries from Le Jardin at The Falls (aka West Mall). Sex? Oh Lord, every nice man or girl starts throwing you ‘sweet eye’, and wants to have a ‘personal conversation’.
Is a real ‘steups’ session during fasting, but the promise that God will bless yuh – and that awesomeness that will occur when your body becomes reacquainted with the forbidden fruit – can keep you going. Carnival is the getaway before the ‘lock down’, and for those who observe Lent, your 40 days will be an uphill climb to a new skin that knows what it means to do without. For those on the inside, Carnival may very well the buffet before the diet; to those on the outside, it’s just hypocrisy.

lentWithin 24 hours, CEPEP erased all signs of the debauchery and ‘wotlessness’ that is Carnival, and with one stroke of an ashy thumb, those that caused it have been absolved. 

As a ‘born and raised’ Catholic, I’ll let you know now that it’s never that easy, and penance for celebrating the flesh for two days on the road is 40 days of not eating any. If you’re a ‘meat mout’, this abstinence from meat is very well penance, and nothing but fish for the next month and a half can seem dismal. Still, if you love fish it’s not that much of a sacrifice now is it? Here is where the heretics start ‘pshh-ing’, and rolling their eyes at the Roman Catholics with ‘shaky’ values, and where I jump in to not only defend the Catholics, but also the Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Lutherans.  

On a daily basis, most of us know we’ll eat when we’re hungry, how we’ll get to and from the places we want to go, and where the income to pay for our wants and needs will come from. Most of us lead comfortable lives and unconsciously so.  We still find time to complain about the weather, while we’re driving our new car or that we need to lose weight while chowing down on Fridays. At the heart of Lent is the belief that stripping away the comforts of the flesh will lead to a more ardent and gratuitous spirit, and a body in control of its desires.


If the intention of fasting for the Lenten season is properly followed, people seeking a righteous life may find themselves truly being able to balance the temptations of the flesh and tap into a ‘self’ that understands the benefits of sacrifice.

“What kinda sacrifice is giving up chocolate?” someone from the audience asks.  Well, if chocolate is your guilty pleasure – a vice, which gives you an uninhibited joy – then as harmless as it really is, in the grand scheme of souls headed to heaven or hell, giving it up for 40 days can truly strengthen willpower – the muscle of the spirit. Giving it up can give you perspective on the role it plays in your life, whether harmless or hurtful.  

My best friend gives up meat every Lent, which often leads to fasts much longer than 40 days. It’s a healthier way of life she confesses, although she still has yet to fully commit to being a vegetarian. Other Catholics I know try harder tests – giving up cigarettes, alcohol, or even food for certain hours a day during Lent. If they stay strong to the commitment for those sacred days, the body loses its ‘want’, the faith in the spirit grows stronger, and the mind reminds us of what is possible with sacrifice.  Still, that’s for those who can commit.

Ask most Trinis, and, if they’re truly honest, they’ll admit this, we suck at commitment. We won’t commit to arriving exactly on time and prefer to add ‘ish’ to the end of o’clock. One minute we’re supporting change; in less than a year, we’re ready to start a mutiny. Funnily enough, Catholics are flexible folks too, and stumbling one day, but trooping through the next 39 means that you’re at least willing to run the race. 

If a daily doubles is your ‘breakfast of champions’, then an entire work week without it may seem like torture, especially if you have to pass the doubles man on your way to work. Even the most seasoned ‘fasters’ stumble, so making it over that first ‘mountain’, the first week, is the test of willpower to determine whether you’ll make it to the finish line. Well, it’s not literally a race right?  

First of all, what you choose to abstain from is a personal decision. Traditionally it was meat, and most Catholics won’t eat any on Fridays during the Lenten period, but it could be anything. I’m sure you saw “40 Nights” when Josh Hartnett decides to give up sex for Lent, but is tempted through every part of it. No one believes he’s going to make it. His co-workers even started taking bets on how long he would last.  I can’t remember how it ends, but I know for certain he suffered… and there was mind-blowing sex when his fast ended. 

So yeah, if sex is your water on a desert island, then wouldn’t it be empowering to flex that willpower, survive ‘blue’ everything, and be rewarded with the kind of sex Sting (the singer) likes to boast he’s having? 

Whether it’s forty days or ten, the moment you decide to give up a guilty pleasure the weight of that decision begins to grow exponentially, as the days go on. Decide to give up corn beef and guess what? It’s all you see when you check the pot. Cooling the sweet tooth? Office party! Who say doughnuts? The significant other all of a sudden wants to buy you exotic pastries from Le Jardin at The Falls (aka West Mall). Sex? Oh Lord, every nice man or girl starts throwing you ‘sweet eye’, and wants to have a ‘personal conversation’. 

Is a real ‘steups’ session during fasting, but the promise that God will bless yuh – and that awesomeness will occur when your body becomes reacquainted with the forbidden fruit – can keep you going. Carnival is the getaway before the ‘lock down’, and for those who observe Lent, your 40 days will be an uphill climb to a new skin that knows what it means to do without. For those on the inside, Carnival may very well the buffet before the diet; to those on the outside, it’s just hypocrisy.

 

Check out the rest of this week’s issue (14/3/11; Issue 48):

 

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Quilin Achat

Quilin Achat is an avid lover of reading, so it's no surprise that she runs a small, unconventional bookstore called The Fire is Lit, in San Fernando. Check out the Fire is Lit at http://facebook.com/theFireisLit.

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