“I would love to be told”

yes, yes, yes:

What I find so attractive, therefore, about Catholicism is the fact that many–though certainly not all–of the practices within the church are grounded in something beyond fad and the opinion of a single pastor or leader. Put another way, I think a huge part of me would actually like it if my pastor said, “For the next 40 days, you’re fasting.” I wouldn’t like it if he was just making a power-play, trying to bind my conscience and create a new means through which to shame me. But if he could say, “You are fasting for the next 40 days because it is a practice that Christians have done in different ways for centuries and it has proven a helpful tool for spiritual formation,” then I would love to be told to do something like that. And that seems a much easier thing for a Catholic or Orthodox believer to say than a Protestant.

I say all that because this is why I really like and appreciate Lent. If someone just tells me, “You need to die with Christ,” I’ll look at them and say, “OK. It’s in the Bible, so you’re right. But I don’t know how to do that.” But with Lent, I have something of an answer–Lent teaches Christians how to die.

more (and I loved Rod’s comments as well; I wrote about related stuff here)

ETA: Comments-box also totally worth your time! It’s a Western Lenten miracle!

About Eve Tushnet