I was beginning to feel positively medieval.
I had just mentioned to a woman I was dating that premarital sex was out.
“What?” she replied. “In this day and age?”
That was to be expected, I suppose. What was unexpected was that my Lenten mortifications would evoke the same response from her.
Now, I’m no candidate for the monastery. I’m a revert, and I admit that I tend to make up for lost time and go a little further in my faith than is fashionable.
But I had no idea that a resolution to fast all through Lent was going to cause such concern. Limiting myself to lunch at noon, coffee in the morning, and a collation in the evening didn’t seem extreme to me, but it did to a woman I was interested in. (The funny thing was that she was always watching what she ate very closely to maintain her admittedly exquisite figure.) Perhaps my eating modifications done for God seemed a little…crazy.
But that’s the way it is these days. Self-denial in the age of living-for-the-moment is not always attractive. It may even smack of self-abuse.
No one said this was going to be easy. I remember the moment I decided to come back to the Church and to bring the woman I was dating at the time with me. That time the reply was, “Couldn’t Catholicism just be your thing and I can have my own thing?”
I’m sure it seemed reasonable, but I knew it was a recipe for disaster. She was an excellent cook, and at the very least, I knew that would mean running a gauntlet of temptations during every Lent. When a beautiful woman cooks you dinner, you’re a gonner – I don’t care how holy you are.
Reflection question: What is getting in the way of your Lenten sacrifice?