Lenten Questions

Lenten Questions


Lent is a time for repentance and self-reflection, which is part of the reason why I decided to give up making jokes. You’re supposed to fast from something, and I thought this would allow me to tap into the somber tone of Lent. Plus, I have been reading Paths to Prayer: A Field Guide to Ten Catholic Traditions by Pat Fosarelli as a part of my ongoing fascination with monastic practices. Apparently, the Rule of St. Benedict forbade laughter, and the Cistercians–my beloved Trappists!–believed that the monk’s whole life should be characterized by observance of Lent.

So as I have tried to abstain from being sarcastic and silly, Lent for me has been filled with continual repentance. That’s no joke, even if it is amusing. Maybe I need to repent of that, too.

As for self-reflection, I get only so far when I attempt to interrogate myself. Maybe that’s like trying to tickle yourself. There needs to be some surprise behind the questioning to make it effective. As the one interrogated, I have already begun to posture because I know the question that is coming and why it is being asked. As interrogator, I am too gullible, taking the answers at face value and letting the suspect off too easily.

Then, I was reading through the Gospel of Mark and noticed that Jesus asks quite a few searching questions. Questions I don’t usually ask myself–questions I might not think to ask. I love in chapter ten when he asks James and John, who have just requested honor and prestige and power in his kingdom, “Are you able to drink this cup?” What a challenging question to ask before communion… but perhaps I will write about that later.

I hope to write about quite a few of them. Actually, this post launched into one of the questions, and it became way too long to put with the setup I am giving here. So I will post it tomorrow. It’s Jesus’ question to the rich young ruler, “Why do you call me good?” Tune in tomorrow!