I'm telling you, this year is downright FREAKISH with regard to how late Ash Wednesday is. Good gracious! Looking at Mike's Almanac, I realize that this does happen from time to time, but to me, the optimal timing is Ash Wednesday in midish February, and Easter in early to mid April. It's just crazy this year, but finally, Ash Wednesday is less than a week away.
I adore Lent, and always have. For the past few years, I've given up meat for the duration, but this time, due to my pregnancy, I'm not going to do that. I know there are plenty of pregnant vegetarians, but they made a lifestyle choice which involved educating themselves on how to still get sufficient protein and other nutrients. I lack that, so I'm not going to mess with it while I'm pregnant. I will remain a carnivore, and although I don't plan to fast at all (that just seems dangerous for a pregnant woman to me) I will abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent. That's a given.
I also usually give up diet soda, since I love it so much, but right now I'm already not drinking it so that would be pointless. :) This year, I think I'm going to go more for the "adding spiritual things in" strategy for Lent.
I'm going to:
(1) up my spiritual reading. Study Bible in the evenings, along with some Lenten selections that I've already chosen. One is Facing East: A Pilgrim's Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy, by Frederica Mathewes-Green. This is a re-read, but I've read it during Lent before, and it's a great book. As the title evidences, she is Orthodox rather than Catholic, but I enjoyed this book very much for it's focus on the liturgical year, specifically what the Orthodox call Great Lent. I'm also going to read He Leadeth Me, by Fr. Walter Ciszek. I've read his companion book, With God in Russia, which was phenomenal. It chronicled his journey through more than 10 years spent in a Russian labor camp. I've heard that his other book is equally life-changing, and I think it's an ideal selection for Lent.
(2) attend Adoration when I can. This is such a boost to the spiritual life, yet why can I never find the energy to go? That's inexcusable, truly. I'd like to bring Hank, as well.
(3) say part of a rosary each day with Hank.
That's the plan for now. I may also try to squeeze in daily Mass during spring break, when it's easier for me to get off campus during the day. What are your plans for Lent 2011?