The Real Mardi Gras

 Debauchery. Bacchanalia. Floats, costumes, beads and masks, and lots of drinking and partying. That’s what we think of when we hear the term Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday.

There is a lot more behind it. Also called Shrove Tuesday, it marks the last day of the liturgical calendar before Lent begins. After Catholicism spread throughout Europe, many cultures celebrated the final day before Lent began in ways unique to that individual  culture. eggs, and milk were finished off in one day, giving rise to the term Fat Tuesday. In Poland, such things as lard, sugar, eggs, and fruit were forbidden during Lent, and the beloved  pączki became a special treat for Fat Tuesday, and in Detroit they still sell many thousands of them to long lines of people.

Many people, Catholic and non Catholic alike celebrate Mardi Gras. Have a great day, but spare a thought to tomorrow.

No matter what church you attend, Lent is a custom, an observance, that you can use to prepare you to meet Christ renewed on Easter Sunday, with a deeper and more tested faith. Perhaps a faith better prepared to go into the world and share, model, and live the teachings.

By the way, I am sure most of you have seen us Catholics sporting the cross on our foreheads, traced in ashes blessed on Palm Sunday of the preceding year. Every parish will have one or more services to distribute ashes, and you do not have to be Catholic to attend and receive the ashes, should you so choose.

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168 Responses to The Real Mardi Gras

  1. The fetching Mrs. Coveyouthband had her last piece of chocolate today before lent…. She really does give up something difficult for her to miss……..

    Liked by 7 people

    • Institches says:

      I give up ALL sweets, which is a real struggle because I have the world’s biggest sweet tooth. (Life is uncertain, eat dessert first!) Today I’m finishing off the honey roasted peanuts, the chocolate and the pecan pralines. It’s going to be a looooooong 40 days!

      Liked by 1 person

    • LULU says:

      When I was a teenager, I used to walk along to mass with my Catholic friends (the parish church was across the street from our high school), who did not invite me to come inside. I remember their giving up what seemed to be minimal things, like candy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Carrie2 says:

      I am giving up by being more in tune with my Catholic faith in spite of the non-pope Francis which means a lot more praying! I can remember when Shrove Tuesday was a big thing to stop and think about denying yourself for 40 days and not a disgraceful stupidity in New Orleans. Quietness, contemplation and thinking like a real human being needs to happen during the 40 days and find that you are ready for Easter, which many consider as the Church’s real birthday.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. mrbarger says:

    It is wonderful to hear from a fellow Catholic here. Have a Happy Mardi Gras and a Bright Lent.

    Liked by 13 people

    • Carrie2 says:

      mrbarger, and even unto today every Friday is still a fish day (no meat day) and when I lived in Mexico they did not have this rule but I still had and do. Fish is good for you and varying your diet helps your health, and besides which I love fish/sea food.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sentient says:

    The Lord fasted for forty days in the desert – in part as an example. The Bible tells of the power of fasting – even as being necessary to drive out a demon. Giving something up for Lent is like a minor fast. It’s a good time for many special exercises in prayer, reading Scripture, etc.

    Liked by 8 people

    • The Devilbat says:

      I need to fast for a bit longer. I’m too fat!!!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Oldschool says:

      Raised Catholic and giving up things we loved the best for Lent. Chocolate was a regular for me. Several years ago, a priest in our parish called upon us to rather than give something up, take something on. Prayer, deeds, focus on Christian living. As Sundance mentions, a preparation for Christ. It really flipped my perspective. As we come into this most holy season, may God continue to bless and keep us all in His love, through the most Sacred Heart of His beloved Son, Jesus.

      Liked by 14 people

    • Hope says:

      Also, along with fasting (food) we should all try fasting, in a general sense, from criticism and judgementalness, which may be difficult especially in these times. So maybe we should just focus on personal relationships rather than politics…. turn our backs on politics, leave them to God, and focus on ourselves, family & friends…… I know easier said than done😐
      So maybe I’ll just choose one day during the week in the Lenten season
      To disconnect from the outside world, especially politics. I’m gonna try

      Liked by 1 person

  4. James Wilder says:

    I will never give up. This is a Holy calling. Never, ever, give up. Yeshua Ha Mashiach forever!!!

    Liked by 10 people

  5. ZurichMike says:

    My Italian-ancestry mother: “So what are you giving up for Lent? It should be something that means a lot to you and would be a big sacrifice.”
    Me: “Pasta”
    My Italian-ancestry mother, after a pause: “Are you crazy? Give up something else.”

    LOL!

    Liked by 40 people

  6. Margaret Main says:

    Since Jan. 1: daily Mass, most days the Rosary, no alcohol, carbs, sweets, Sunday donuts, television (ok-two shows), and weight watchers.
    I’m ten pounds lighter, crabby as hell, and kind of hungry all the time. I’ve saved lots of money and am “offering it up.”
    So thankful to be Catholic, except for that mixed up Pope …

    Liked by 20 people

  7. Cat Lady says:

    You’re supposed to get your cross of ashes on Ash Wednesday not Mardi Gras!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • ZurichMike says:

      What she wrote:

      “Have a great day, but spare a thought to tomorrow.” (meaning Ash Wednesday). Then she mentioned getting ashes.

      Liked by 6 people

    • Carrie2 says:

      Cat Lady, and I have to work in when to go for ashes due to schedule, but I go and the ashes remind us that from dirt we came and to dirt we return. Rather mindbending when you think about it.

      Like

  8. Thank you Menagerie.

    When I asked myself, what is one thing that distracts me from Christ, “the internet” was the first thought. So perhaps I will find a way to moderate that distraction. Or perhaps I have to “cold turkey” my connection. I share ponder one more day…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mariposa323 says:

      Same here . If I really want to give up something so important for me it would have to be CTH … but then my sanity would not survive !
      On another note … great documentary on fasting on Amazon movies …very eye opening “ the science of fasting “ it’s called . Health benefits , especially for the mind , diabetes , hypertension , etc . Now if we could just force a fast on these liberals , “ Soviet Union “ style ….might be the cure for the Tussia Russia Russia insanity !

      Liked by 1 person

      • skeinster says:

        Same here. But it occurred to me that I can read the posts, but skip the comments.
        I’m the only politically interested one in my family, so it’s almost a duty to keep up.
        I’ll miss ya’ll- your takes on life, politics and the world in general are so valuable.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I was taught a long time ago, if the giving up of food could prompt you to remember to hunger for God, then it was fulfilling it’s purpose. 🙂

        Like

    • Oldschool says:

      Guilty too think think. Even the treehouse tempts before proper morning prayer.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Plain Jane says:

    In Catholic grade school weall gave up something we really liked. Never even questioned it. We did it during Lent and Advent. When Valentine’s Day fell during Lent it was quite tough because of the traditional party and the goodies. We all seemed to pretty much take our stash home and eat the yums only on Sundays during Lent.

    Anyway that early on self denial built character.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Texian says:

      Yes, Catholic grade school. (Thanks Mom and Dad). The one I went to had still held onto Vatican I principles at the time. The Special Latin Masses were real.. The real thing.. It was a Spiritual calling.. The Presence was there.. If you wanted it.. You had to want it though.. To let Him in..

      Liked by 7 people

      • Deb says:

        My kids go to a new Classical Catholic elementary school. They are learning Latin, and went to the local Latin mass for a field trip. There is a parish in our diocese that offers the Latin mass daily and twice on Sunday. We don’t attend it very often, but it is a blessing when we do.

        We have so many Spanish masses around town, I wish we could have the universal language of Latin as our main liturgical language again. It must have been beneficial when every Catholic around the world could pray together in a common language.

        Liked by 5 people

        • MTeresa says:

          I’m so thankful that there has been a resurgence of Classic Catholic elementary schools. We have one in our area where our granddaughter attends and it continues to grow year after year. There is such a thirst for it. And this is in leftist California!

          Liked by 3 people

        • Mariposa323 says:

          So true !
          Pray for our Church … everything is so topsy turvey now ! There are people in other countries who still remember the Latin and miss it in spite of having the Novus Ordo in their native tongue . So you attend a mass there in that country or region , you don’t understand it either . So what’s the big deal if it were in Latin everywhere . I believe we were all scammed by the Freemasons in the church … they want a universal government but not a universal mass !

          Liked by 2 people

        • Nordic Breed says:

          In 1999 I founded a local Una Voce chapter to petition the bishop for the Traditional Latin Mass, now known, thanks to Pope Benedict XVI, as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. We were told by the then bishop that he wouldn’t grant it because it would confuse the Protestants since we live in the Bible Belt. He wasn’t orthodox in the Faith by any stretch of the imagination. We petitioned Rome but he still wouldn’t give in. Thanks to the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum in 2007 (Pope Benedict XVI), we obtained it in 2008 and after several venues in our area, it landed at our parish with a great pastor. Attendance is growing.

          If you want the Traditional Latin Mass (EF), get sufficient laity together and find a priest who is willing to offer it. You no longer need to petition the bishop unless you just want to let him know that you need a priest to offer it and can’t find one locally. Everywhere it is offered you’ll find paperback books with the Latin on one side and the English on the other, or Latin/Spanish. In addition, you can find it for ipads here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/imass/id381131668?mt=8 . It contains the words of the Mass as well as giving you the ability to see it celebrated live.

          Here are other resources for the EF: http://materdeiparish.com/latin-mass-resources/

          Latin and the Classical Catholic education is experiencing a resurgence. Maybe a good Lenten project would be to do a little something or offer something up for the continuing growth of the Extraordinary Form!

          Thanks, Menagerie, for the main post. A Blessed Lent to all!

          Like

          • Carrie2 says:

            We are a small city with only one Catholic Church, but in San Jose, CA there are a couple of Catholic Churches with the Latin Mass but that is quite a hike from where I live to there. We do have Mass sometimes in Portuguese and one of the Philippine languages, but need to add on in Vietnamese because many coming to live here.

            Like

        • Old fogey says:

          It is amazing that the church has not realized its mistake and reverted once again to Latin. Not only is the English used ungainly and rather ugly, but when you are traveling abroad and attend a service in a strange language it is disconcerting. Think, too, about the universal symbolism of having the same words in the minds of millions of people throughout the world. . . Satan was too clever when he decided to infiltrate the church as he has infiltrated the entertainment industry and academia.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Carrie2 says:

            Old fogey, I have attended Mass in several countries, even in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the Mass is the same no matter the language and easy to follow, and in many of these countries so many cultures attend Mass so is even more inspiring. Always attend Mass in China in an old cathedral not far from our motel/hotel in a hutong. The enthusiasm I see in other countries makes me ashamed of the lack of enthusiasm here. Francis has really hurt our Church and since I have learned Benedict did NOT retire but took time to get better health, we need to remove Francis and let our REAL Pope back. Pope Benedict a highly educated and loving man of our faith and we need him back in spite of some cardinals!

            Like

            • ACtually you can look and see that Benedict is very frail and very happy to be peacefully getting ready to go home. What I have loved is to have him right alongside us praying so profoundly and generously.

              I await the day when people discover all that he did and all of this hypocrisy about the Catholic church’s tiny continent of actively homosexual priests is laid to rest as we realize that with the rampant molestation of children ONGOING in so many other sectors we are the only group called upon to reform AND the only group DOING anything to reform.

              I find it amusing that the active same sex call out the church when it is primarily that contingent within the church who were the tiny percent abusing – primarily young men.

              I do not in any way condone what happened but Pope Benedict did absolutely nothing wrong and worked valiantly trying to address it.
              How truly sad how many children are being allowed to be mistreated and abused by teachers, doctors, thugs…with no callout against any but the Catholic church.

              The pope that we have never had a chance. Raised in South America, heavily influenced by a view of America that focused ferociously on some of the unfortunate alliances that we made when we were between a rock and a hard place (sandanistas); and very much NEVER valued the sort of freedom that we offer, there would have been no opportunity for him to see us through a clearer filter.

              Both St. John Paul II and Benedict personally experienced rescue through America and were far more learned about the world.

              My feeling is that Our Lady has made it extraordinarily clear how much we have offended God and for me, primarily, I think about the BILLIONS of babies, each one willed into creation by God, that we have sent back to him.

              Pope Francis may be the pope we deserve after John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, St. John Paul II and Benedict, were not able to galvanize us back into embracing our faith.

              the lay people have been extraordinarily ready to embrace the ‘me first’ and ‘not my fault’ culture and do nothing to inspire vocations or to be examples to even put the thought of vocations into the minds of young men and women.

              There IS an emerging culture among the very young who instill in me such joy and hope, but they are up against nearly 70 years of a similar corruption as that which has infected the world since the Sexual REvolution and the 20th century war on human dignity, through tyranny and genocide, began.

              I have extraordinary hope but I am also quite aware that a chastisement of epic proportions is due.

              Like

          • AM says:

            I don’t want to go back to all Latin. It’s silly to have people read the Scripture in Missal. If we went back, I’d want to be able to make a choice, just I think it was wrong to shove Novus Ordo down everyone’s throats, if they didn’t want it.

            But then again, I went to some Episcopalian Mass as a kid, I know that English liturgury can be quite beautiful and devout. I don’t have any particular attachment to Latin.

            Like

            • Deb says:

              Many Latin masses still have the readings in the vernacular. I think it depends on the parish.

              I don’t want Latin shoved down people’s throats. I appreciate that the option is there, since the Latin mass was actively suppressed by so many Bishops. Most Bishops today who are friendly towards the Latin mass are no way in favor of making it the only option.

              Like

        • Carrie2 says:

          Deb, how many of us still remember that everything in Latin and on opposite page in English. I do agree we all need to be on one page but Latin is not an easy language to learn due to poor education over last few decades. Due to time, I attend the Spanish Mass because I speak Spanish after living in Mexico for years, but prefer our Sat. nite 5 pm Mass because I like the old songs best.

          Like

          • Deb says:

            I was born in the 1980’s, I didn’t even know the Latin mass existed until high school. I didn’t attend one until I was in my 30’s. I wasn’t taught any Latin other than the common phrases.

            Ironically, my younger sister attended a public high school in the 1990’s and she took two years of Latin. My Catholic high school didn’t even offer it.

            Learning Latin and Greek have their advantages. It’s useful to have a common language for things like science, law, theology, etc. That is why Europe continued the use of Greek and Latin in these fields for centuries. It was a way to make sure knowledge could be universal. And even those who weren’t fluent could learn their prayers and know the common sayings.

            I just don’t like to see us throw away our heritage so lightly.

            Like

      • formerdem says:

        He is still there.

        Like

    • Oldschool says:

      Thanks plain jane. We have had an ongoing debate in my family and so many have now gone it is often difficult to recall the history. I distinctly remember that Sundays during Lent we did not fast, but mamma says I made that up. Your post is helpful in my memory. We also don’t fast on St Joseph’s day. Traditional to eat St Joseph cakes.

      Liked by 2 people

    • EJ says:

      Every Friday afternoon during Lent the whole school attended the Stations of the Cross service.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Nordic Breed says:

        I remember it well. All those childhood practices have stood me in good stead over the years. My favorite stations is a scriptural version which takes Bible quotes from the Old and New Testaments that are used in the Traditional Latin Mass, translated into English, of course. If you’re too decrepit to attend stations at your parish, you can still pray them every Friday. On Good Friday I watch Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” to remind me in a graphic way what Jesus went through for all of us.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Mary Ann says:

    Thank you for sharing Lent.. I knew Catholics observed, but it seems people of other faith’s have joined as well..

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Turranos says:

    Honestly, I was not even thinking about Mardi Gras. I was definitely focused on debauchery but that was within the Democrat Party and those hallowed halls of certain agencies of the federal government. It creeps me out knowing that other government agencies are up to no good but we haven’t yet discovered their crimes.

    Rest assured, I will prepare to meet Christ on Easter Sunday. I absolutely love Easter and the renewal of the earth in the springtime. May God bless all of you.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Carrie2 says:

      Mary Ann, and then comes Pentecost Sunday and that is always a lovely Mass as well. Christ has never left us and it is proven by the Church lasting 2000K in spite of so many nasty popes, priests, etc. Created by Christ and still blessed by Christ and our special days to celebrate his coming, death, resurrection and continuing care of us almost makes me weep again.

      Like

  12. ZurichMike says:

    In first grade Catechism class with Sister Rose (kind of like Maggie Smith as Mother Superior in Sister Act), we kids moaned and groaned when she told us to give up candy for Lent. “And what is your suffering, pray tell, compared to that of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ hanging on the Cross for your sins?” she would sternly reprimand us.

    Liked by 11 people

    • Ldave says:

      When my boys were young, waking them up for Mass was sometimes rebutted with “I don’t feel like it.” I’d say, “you think Jesus felt like getting up that morning to get hung on the cross for you?”

      Liked by 5 people

  13. Beverly says:

    We more abstemious Anglicans have the traditional Pancake Supper, for which the gents do the cooking, serving the wives and children. Ummm-yum!

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Timmy-the-Ute says:

    Being 59 this is the last time I have to worry to much about Lent. I have a VFW conference this weekend, so I will be having some beer. I may have to wait till Sunday before I dive too deep into Lent. I will try to add a mid-week mass to my schedule this Lent.

    Liked by 3 people

    • skeinster says:

      Timmy brings up a good point. Fasting is not required for those 60 and up, pregnant and nursing mothers and those who do hard physical labor- like stevedores in the old days.
      And of course, the ill.

      And there’s a difference between fasting and abstinence: fasting invlolves the amount of food, abstinence involves the kind of food.
      Giving up chocolate- abstinence
      Having only one full meal ad day, with two snacks that do not add up a full meal- fasting
      (That’s the pre-Vat II rule that most of us at our TLM parish follow, and that anyone can do as a devotion. And all days except Sunday, not just Ash Wed. and Good Fridays.)

      Liked by 3 people

    • Carrie2 says:

      Timmy, I am way over 59 but Lent is Lent still for me.

      Liked by 1 person

    • AM says:

      To repeat Carrie’s point: the fasting/abstinence rules aren’t about some sort of spiritual retirement or something. If you can observe Lent you should, even if you’re 62. It’s just old age can bring with it issues that would make Lent a time that would endanger your health.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Mike says:

    Great post once again Menagerie, thanks!

    Liked by 5 people

  16. Donna in Oregon says:

    BLESSING THE DUST:
    A BLESSING FOR ASH WEDNESDAY
    All those days
    you felt like dust,
    like dirt,
    as if all you had to do
    was turn your face
    toward the wind
    and be scattered
    to the four corners

    or swept away
    by the smallest breath
    as insubstantial—

    did you not know
    what the Holy One
    can do with dust?

    This is the day
    we freely say
    we are scorched.

    This is the hour
    we are marked
    by what has made it
    through the burning.

    This is the moment
    we ask for the blessing
    that lives within
    the ancient ashes,
    that makes its home
    inside the soil of
    this sacred earth.

    So let us be marked
    not for sorrow.
    And let us be marked
    not for shame.
    Let us be marked
    not for false humility
    or for thinking
    we are less
    than we are

    but for claiming
    what God can do
    within the dust,
    within the dirt,
    within the stuff
    of which the world
    is made
    and the stars that blaze
    in our bones
    and the galaxies that spiral
    inside the smudge
    we bear.
    — Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace

    Liked by 6 people

  17. pacnwbel says:

    This Anglican usually takes on an extra commitment during Lent, just because it seems more positive than giving up something, but this year the decision is to give up listening to liberal claptrap of any kind, and just think good thoughts insread.

    Liked by 4 people

    • AM says:

      This isn’t directed directly at you, it’s just your post triggered this thought. 🙂

      I genuinely think that we’re supposed to actually fast – as in be physically hungry. I mean it’s generally the spirit of sacrifice that people give up stuff, but I can’t help but feel that if God wanted us to give up stuff, He would have said that.

      I’m not “giving up” anything this Lent. I will be fasting on Fridays and will be trying to give more and pray more.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you for this post. I’m Catholic and I remember as a child how my family observed the Lenten season. We religiously (no pun intended) observed it. EVERY single bit of it. Ash Wednesday and the 40 days of Lent. I remember giving up my favorite things for Lent, usually sweets, and how glorious it was to finally welcome Easter Sunday. We also attended Mass daily for many years and went to all the Holy Week Services. My father was a Eucharistic minister and participated in the readings. My knees hated Holy Week… 🙂 I always felt cleansed, renewed, brand new on Easter Sunday, and was glad that my parents ‘made’ me observe the Lenten season.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Oldschool says:

      Many similar memories justagirl, but likely a bit older since I have no recollection or knowledge of the existence of Eucharistic ministers growing up. Priests were plentiful and not uncommon to have several serving while we knelt at an altar for our Communion. I believe the shortage of priests created a need for this ministry, but could be wrong. Also remember during the Lenten season, no weddings performed, staues draped in purple. Not a time for celebration.

      Liked by 4 people

  19. ProgressivismIsAMentalDisorder says:

    Carnevale is an Italian word derived from the Latin carnem (meat) and levare (remove), corresponding to English “carnival”. It is a traditional Christian celebration which marks the beginning of Lent, the period of 40 days before Easter during which no meat is eaten.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. georgiafl says:

    “Fasting is feasting on Christ.” – Dallas Willard and he added that reverence, worship, Bible reading, meditation, prayer, confession, seeking forgiveness and making amends make it so.

    Liked by 4 people

  21. Makes me want to visit NOLA. I have a brother-in-law from there that has family down there. Such a blast last time I went to NOLA in 2014.

    Like

  22. Dekester says:

    Here it is 0340 or so ( PST)

    I am sitting by the fire with our beautiful dog enjoying reading about Lent.

    We had little or no church experiences growing up, and as a result was ambivalent about religion, regardless of the faith.

    TCTH has become, without question the most inspirational, educational and informative resource available to me.

    Thank you all for your contributions.

    Liked by 8 people

  23. skeinster says:

    A note about the ashes Menagerie mentioned. They are made from the blessed palms of the previous year, which are burned and mixed with oil. We had a basket out to collect the old palms the last couple of Sundays.

    Liked by 5 people

  24. southernsue says:

    depravement

    Like

    • ZurichMike says:

      What?

      Like

    • It’s ‘depravity’ that you are searching for and secondarily, given MEnagerie’s EXTREMELY polite request that those who disagree keep their own counsel, I believe, if you are trying to inject censure upon not just Mardi Gras but upon Lent as a whole, that you need to own the label for yourself.
      If it is just Mardi GRa’s modern day depravity that you deplore I am in full agreement and I apologize if I interpreted incorrectly.

      Like

  25. Rivetjoint says:

    Never used to fly when I’d offer to give up homework for Lent to my mother, the sainted Mary of Milwaukee.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. LFC says:

    One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is what I will say to all of the people in my life who are very far left ideologically, or were Hillary enthusiasts or Trump haters when all of the ramifications of The Big Ugly come undeniably crashing in on them. Their anguish will be horrible. Some of these people are friends and relatives (like my own mother who called me a racist and a nazi on the day of Trump’s election) with whom I have long histories and great personal affection. Others are acquaintances and colleagues with whom I don’t have much of a relationship but I definitely know something of their politics! Some of the people among my family, friends and acquaintances are people I don’t like much. Regardless, as a Christian, I’m called to extend a benevolent love to them all—to wish them all well and to want the best for them.

    I have been thinking about their pain and about how much they have invested in a view of the world that will soon be revealed to be a complete illusion. What will they think? How will they cope? How will they resolve the terrible cognitive dissonance? How can I help?

    Should I tell them they were betrayed by people they trusted and admired? Deluded by an incomplete set of facts? Taken advantage of by people who wanted to use them for their own purposes? Should I appeal to our common bedrock in the Constitution and rule of law?

    The one thing I know I won’t do is say, “I told you so!” Or, “I was right and you were wrong.” None of that will help heal relationships. I know I can’t move them towards my conservative point of view or towards an approval of Trump—at least not soon. But if I can help salve their wounds, soothe their pain and help them right themselves in this tops-turvy world, then I want to try. As Christ taught, they are my brothers and sisters—and His brothers and sisters.

    So this is what I plan to contemplate during this Lent and make it part of my prayer, fasting and almsgiving. I would be grateful for any suggestions for how I can do my best. A blessed Lent to all!

    Liked by 2 people

    • TheLastDemocrat says:

      LFC: Sounds like a good plan.

      There is not much to say. These people have been seduced into a cult. Believe me – I wish there were a Democratic party for me to be part of. There really is not.

      Part of the way cults work is by making members believe they have the special, insider knowledge, and by holding the correct beliefs and behaving accordingly they are virtuous; to the cult members, the rest of the world is biased against them to some degree, and we outsiders are all lacking in virtue, and therefore can be ignored or ridiculed or pitied. But not respected, or listened-to.

      A cult includes automatic cognitive responses that seem convincing but are not, but serve the purpose of allowing cult members to avoid the exact ways the cult world-view does not match up with reality.

      We outside the cult are either ignorant or evil. That is one of the cognitive tricks. The more you present reality, the more you will fit the “evil” category, versus the “ignorant” category.

      If you press a cult member beyond the superficial argument/counterargument, you get beyond the easy cognitive response, and you get into emotionality. Like clockwork, you will provoke name-calling, and other emotional responses. This is the line of defense behind the seemingly rational knee-jerk automatic first line of defense against reality.

      Cult experts note two ways to get someone out of this mind-control. First is getting them out of the constant stream of propaganda. Pretty hard to do nowadays. The second is to emphasize the relationship, and feed small pieces of reality.

      This is what you are considering. This is what I am trying to do. My Dem family members have a built-in hate for Big Banks, so I can point out how Hiraly and Dem party are tied to Goldman-Sachs, and other tidbits like that, and so create the separation you suggest.

      I have also noted Hiraly’s brother getting gold mining rights in Haiti – I then suggest that if we really wanted to help Haiti, we would consult with them to get their own gold industry established, not use their labor and land and derive the wealth out of Haiti – again, my family understands how the evil Western countries, and the evil corporations, extract wealth out of vulnerable populations, so this tidbit slides right in.

      God Bless you and good luck having any political discussion with family! Maybe one day we can all get back to simple guns-and-butter arguments!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Deb says:

        This is a good synopsis of how a cult operates.

        I would like to add that some people have a personality type where this “group think” and other aspects of the cult actually appeal to them.

        These types of people exist in all groups. They have a tendency to embrace whatever belief system they join in a cult like manner, and then operate accordingly. Think of the die hard Never Trumpers or the Cruzbots. Many of them have the personality types that make them susceptible to cult like thinking.

        The problem with the Dem party is that the leadership have created a cult like environment to manipulate the voters. It has caused rationale people such as yourself to leave the party. Soon the only people left will be the zealots. The cult will be totally closed off. At that point how do you fix it?

        Every church/political party/club is susceptible to this. It’s a part of human nature. Every religion has its zealots that try to purify everyone else. It’s always been an issue that societies have had to deal with. The socieities that fail, in my opinion, are the ones where the zealots manage to gain total control and begin to purge all others. The Soviet Union being a prime example.

        Like

    • “Should I tell them they were betrayed by people they trusted and admired? Deluded by an incomplete set of facts? Taken advantage of by people who wanted to use them for their own purposes?” …

      Yes, I think you are on the right path. Compassion and kindness, when faced with a humiliating reality, will never be forgotten and may be just the thing necessary to open their eyes to the truth.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nordic Breed says:

      Aha! You will fast from “I told you so!” I think two of the most powerful weapons we have to increase our charity towards those you’ve described is to pray the rosary daily for their conversion to Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (they are having big trouble accepting truth and we must all seek it energetically daily which means seeking Christ), and to make a holy hour every week in front of the Blessed Sacrament if possible for the conversion of sinners, remembering that we are all sinners, no exception.

      When I am sorely tempted to condemn the treasonous criminals and the leftys out there who are trashing patriots daily committing sins against the 8th commandment (Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor), I think of hell and how horrible an eternity of torment and separation from God really is. Then I pray for them because, really, if we call ourselves Christians, we can do no other. It’s hard, though.

      Like

    • jbrickley says:

      I am more worried they won’t wake from their slumber even if a whole slew of their heroes go to prison. Will they believe they were betrayed? Will they become “woke”? Will they just think it’s part of the “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy”? That “Hitler has returned”? That’s my fear. They won’t let go… The more reasonable will see the light but many are very far gone indeed.

      Like

  27. JAS says:

    Thanks so much for the great post. Raised as a Catholic, schools and all, I married a Catholic and have raised our children in those traditions set by our parents. At great financial sacrifice, we enrolled our kids in Catholic schools beginning with Pre-K, all the way through High school. Both became altar servers during grade school. And the money spent was worth every penny, resulting in a fantastic education.

    All this said, I am disturbed about the politics that are permeating our great faith and institution in favor of liberalism. Lately there have been articles that portend to show that things at the Vatican are not what they seem, or should be….. I pray that this politicization ends soon, and ends in a good way.

    http://yournewswire.com/wikileaks-pope-benedict-deep-state/

    Cardinal Godfried Maria Jules Danneels referenced in the above article is from Belgium, and was interviewed about his book, and the “Danneels Mafia” in 2015:

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-danneels-admits-being-part-of-clerical-mafia-that-plotted-francis

    Liked by 4 people

  28. delmarvajim says:

    Trying to think back about 65 years or so but recalling “mite boxes” that we would put pennies into during Lent. I believe we returned them to church at the end of Lent but I don’t recall what the money was used for.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. 4sure says:

    Not Catholic, but Ash Wed. is very meaningful to me. Having the cross of ashes applied to forehead by pastor is pretty special. I also find the good friday service really moving. when the altar is stripped. And of course, nothing beats the Easter Sunrise service. Easter is so special, I’m not sure all Christians realize that w/o the Resurrection there would be no Christianity as death would not have been defeated and the Old Testament Prophets would have been liars or charlatans. Which would have made the whole Bible a book of nothing more than fantasies.

    Yes, Easter is very important in the Christian world. While Christmas is celebrated with much more fanfare (and Commercialism), and the Birth of Christ had to happen, Easter is the culmination of that Birth.

    I wish Easter was more widely revered and celebrated.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. FofBW says:

    Thank you Menagerie.
    During Lent we light a candle, read the daily readings and say the Rosary. It is a wonderful way to start the day.
    Since my wife is Italian, we got to celebrate Carnival (Mardi Gra) in Venice one year. What an amazing event. All the costumes and mask are spectacular.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I’m looking forward to Lent and using the 40 days wisely to improve my spiritual state. It needs improving for sure and and am grateful for the reminder/opportunity and the timely encouraging messages of the treehouse. Being from Detroit I sure miss the hoopla of Paczki Day. Nothing like it on the left coast.

    Liked by 4 people

  32. Menagerie says:

    I will make just one warning to those who are offended by Catholicism. Comment here and I will put you on the black list.

    If you disagree with anything in this post fine, pass on. It’s not for you and I don’t care.

    There is no law that says you must approve of everything written on the internet.

    Many Protestants are celebrating Lent now. I intended this post to honor each of us who celebrates a little before we settle into the rigors of sacrificially seeking our Lord. If this is not your path I respect that, and request that those who choose to post here not be harassed.

    Liked by 8 people

    • maiingankwe says:

      Menagerie,
      Your post shocked me. Why would anyone at CTH be offended by a Catholic?

      I’m not Catholic and was raised in a home that didn’t go to a church on Sunday. So when I was reading your article, I found it fascinating because it was completely new to me. I like to learn. I’ve never heard of Fat Tuesday.

      So of course I continued by reading comments from our Treepers. I found myself completely engrossed into all of the pleasant stories. So many memories came to the surface for our Treepers and were shared, and there’s not a lot better than that.

      It got to the point I was actually wondering if I could do lent myself. I was thinking of looking up how to properly to do it, and I was taking note of the links shared for daily lent prayers. I was even thinking of giving up something that I really like and means a lot to me. I didn’t want to go half way, but as far as I could go.

      So yes, when I read your warning, I about fell out of my comfy chair. Why would anyone disparage something that has so much meaning to others? Why would they go out of their way to not only be rude, but really mean? Are they insecure? Anger? I really don’t know, but can guess.

      All I can say is, no one is forcing anyone to read this article. It’s easy to pass on and not bother. No one should have to go out of their way to be mean, especially when they know there are a great many Treepers who believe in our Creator, and some of them may be Catholic.

      I’m just venting here. I was thoroughly enjoying my reading about so many Treepers memories and their experiences. And even though I may not know or understand some of the terminology used, I still felt included. As if I could do this too, and it would be accepted if I was respectful.

      I just want to say sorry if there was anyone who went out of their way to be petty and mean about what others believe in. Attacking people for their beliefs I have always found to be below the belt. I find it unconscionable. I even saw it happen somewhere else earlier this morning. It’s just wrong.

      I may never become Catholic and I find nothing wrong with that, but I would never disrespect those who are. I am so sorry if you have witnessed any disrespect here today. This is not what CTH is about.
      Be well, and I hope you have a wonderful day,
      Ma’iingankwe

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ad rem says:

        Fetched you from the bin…. 😦

        Liked by 2 people

      • AM says:

        “I’m not Catholic and was raised in a home that didn’t go to a church on Sunday. ”

        This is why you don’t understand. 🙂 I will not make this too long or detail as to say that there’s a great deal of inside baseball (aka internal divisions) within Christianity. One of those divisions is a militant and vocal section that insists Catholics in particular worship idols, are pagans and/or not Christian. (Which is odd because they don’t seem to have the same criticism of either Orthodox or Anglicans, which hold to the vast majority of the same practices as Catholics.)

        As a Catholic, it’s not a sentiment I return – in fact I pray that those who have been Baptized and wish to be part of the Body of Christ make it Heaven. But on the Internet that vocal group is quite unavoidable and at a place like CTH, there will be a few of those who, perhaps with the best of intentions, insist on targeting Catholics. I perfectly understood her warning and I’m very grateful she made it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Menagerie says:

        There are always some who are offended by my posts. Today there was a nastier than usual one.

        Thanks for your kindness, and I am happy that you enjoyed reading all the comments. That was my intent. And BTW, I would encourage you to explore Lent. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Start from where you are.

        What might make you grow more? What do you need to work on? Is there.a particular sin or vice you struggle with? Can you attack that through sacrifice and prayer? Is there a virtue you need to practice mindfully? Do you (as most all of us do) need additional prayer time or some listening in silence time?

        And we all benefit from the Lenten tradition of almsgiving. Catholics will fast and abstain from meat tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent, and on Good Friday. We also abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent.

        Most Catholics are unaware of this, but it isn’t just during Lent we are supposed to abstain from eating meat. In lieu of abstention, we can, outside of Lent, make some other penitential sacrifice on Fridays, but we are supposed observe Friday as the day of the Lord’s sacrifice all year, and it is especially preferable to do so at 3:00 if one is able.

        If you have further questions please, feel free to comment moment here or email me at the Treehouse email. No, you don’t need to be Catholic to take advantage of a great way to grow. I’d be happy to help if you have questions.

        Liked by 2 people

        • maiingankwe says:

          Menagerie,
          You’ve given me a great place to start and I’m excited. At first I was like no meat? It’s okay, I love fish, and look forward to eating a lot more of it.

          I’m going to do some research as well as take time for deep thought and prayer. I’ve found myself praying a lot more often and a lot longer throughout my days. I like that. I think this is why Lent has now gotten my attention after all these years.

          One of my closest friends is Catholic, and I just loved going to Friday fish fries at all the taverns in the country while we were young and fancy free. I think he’s going to get a kick out of our next phone call.

          We’d even sneak in our own tartar sauce in case we didn’t care for theirs. His Dad made the greatest tartar sauce I’ve ever tried, and thankful he had passed the recipe to me a couple of decades ago. I look forward to making it again.

          There was even a time we were going to see if we could make it a business and sell to all the taverns and restaurants.

          So how did I go from Lent to tartar sauce? Good memories.

          I promise if I get stuck or confused, I will send an email. Thank you for your open mind and graciousness. I really look forward to learning more and carrying this through.
          Be well,
          Ma’iingankwe

          Liked by 1 person

  33. Mariposa323 says:

    I totally get where you are coming from , and I respect that point of view . I am a Catholic . I too feel that from the exterior , it is easy to make the assumptions you are making . I can only answe that it is a matter of the heart . Jesus can see what is in our hearts . We have to love Him first and His commandments before we can see with the heart and strive for holiness . Which is the essence of the Catholic faith . The sacraments , the liturgy and the feasts are all about this simple fact : to help us focus on a life that is rich in Christ’s salvific work and not separate our private worship from the full living out of our Faith . We are all sinners and we fail at this continually , and yes, the temptation is to rely on an outward form to substitute the inner reality . If we aren’t spiritually grounded in Truth , we are merely performing empty acts . If we truly strive for Holiness we will welcome all the Holy means given to us to become more Christlike . We don’t worship Mary , it is merely that we love her the way Jesus did . We respect her and honor her as He did . End of story . We try to imitate her and ask her to pray for us ( like you would ask anyone in your own family ) . We can easily get distracted by the outward appearance of what people are doing in their respective faith practice . The question that has to be asked is , can I be the authentic example of my faith ?

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Nordic Breed says:

    Menagerie, thank you so much, you and sundance and whoever else is involved with this site, for making it a good place for devout Catholics to express the love of our Faith and our patriotism. For me, this is a place to be healed and to remain strong since every lie and hateful thing I see on line or in print or on TV cuts to the quick. Here there is kindness, love, and encouragement for fellow Treepers. God bless you!

    Liked by 3 people

  35. I gave up sugar at the beginning of January and that is pretty easy for me. One reason it is easy is that I can still have my Lily’s chocolate bar because it is sweetened with stevia! I also gave up snacking between meals. Now, I had planned on giving up sherry for Lent…and tomorrow is the beginning of Lent and I am getting shaky….it is so relaxing to sit and have a glass of sherry while dinner is cooking. Well, I will try.

    Like

    • I am a stevia (truvia is my brand, but my friend loves the Trader Joe’s version) fan, big time…ESPECIALLY when I read the story of how the sugar LOBBY and the government went after them when they tried to very politely introduce this ancient SUGAR into the world. It is because of this war against them that they are called a sweetener…but they’ve really just as much right to the label of sugar as C&H has. . .it’s a fascinating story of what the family went through. Most people don’t know it’s been used for hundreds and hundreds of years by natives.

      Like

  36. juniper55 says:

    This is the 4th year I am giving up meat for Lent. Don’t totally stick to it but I try my best as my liberal non-Christian eastern religion-embracing but loving DH wishes to live a vegetarian or even vegan lifestyle so I do it for him – but I refuse to give up meat entirely! Though many veg dishes are very good and I happily cook them too. But I think this will be the first year I will ask him for a favor in return as I want to take on returning to regular Mass after a very long absence, and want my boys to learn the faith. I think I will insist on re-establishing family prayers in the evening, we used to when the boys were very small. Our lovely corner of Maryland was the first English-speaking Catholic colony in the US and there are some 17 churches in 16 parishes (where we grew up in NC and MS there was only one in each location) and I’ve been promising for almost twenty years to visit them all. Now is the time and my husband better come with me!

    Like

    • AM says:

      “but I refuse to give up meat entirely!”

      That’s good because meat is good human nutrition. It’s what God made for us to eat and why giving up it temporarily is a sacrifice. 🙂

      Like

    • littleflower481 says:

      Similar to you, I did give up meat a few times, but my body can not handle it. Not enough protein for me. I know I know, beans are protein, but actually, they are carbohydrates. If I do not eat animal my nails shred and I looked like I am starving. I really don’t know what is so good about not eating meat.

      As far as Eastern Religions, I have been interested in and honor all religions and one of my main teachers has been Paramahansa Yogananda…along witth St Theresa of Avila and Adya Shanti.. i was also raised Catholic and I am glad for it and I particularly like the mystical tradition including the mystical Eucharist, the body and blood of Christ….very sacred experience.

      Now it is non-dualilty and no self which has led to nothing is happening..which is true. God Bless.

      Like

  37. Sundance, God bless you. We cradle, reverts and converts thank you so much for sharing the truth of our faith.

    You already had my vote because of your self-restraint and resistance to hyperbole, but now my mother can embrace you as her lawyerly (constiution loyal) ethics are pleased by how you substantiate everything; and her Catholic faith is quietly pleased to see your same calm, pleasant sharing of the faith. Not shoving it down anyone’s threat and no threat of anybody being physically harmed if they resist or even, sadly, leave the faith.

    God bless you and see you tomorrow with our ashes!!

    Like

  38. czarowniczy says:

    The things that come over me while watching the Mardi Gras parades on local TV. The news showed a group celebrating a friends 21sr birthday. They were walking as bottles of Absolut vodka that were left behind on the shelf, bottles that despite Mardi Gras no one wanted. One was ‘Absolute Garlic’, another Absolute Mildew and another Absolute Dishwasher. It came over me that had I been invited I could have gone as ‘Absolute Hillary’. As a twofer I could have taken my fat, old border collie, put a ‘Hillary’ t-shirt on her and every time she graced the city street with a solid offering said that we’re still out here picking up after Hillary.
    Then again I’d probably be assaulted by untold thousands of local who’d been promised that had Hillary been elected the Free Fedruh Money taps would have been turned on even more widerer.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Oh MENAGERIE!! Forgive me for not getting it right who you are…but as a good Catholic you’ll probably chalk it up to an opportunity for humility. YOU may indeed choose that but “I” am still mortified not to have realized who wrote it.

    I am still quite a fan of Sundance but this was just a wonderful post.

    Please forgive me.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. YvonneMarie says:

    God bless The Last Refuge.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. stella says:

    Good news is that someone posted this at lucianne.com. The bad news is that Menagerie didn’t get the credit for writing it.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. All American Snowflake says:

    I was 20-years old the first time I saw ashes on somebody’s forehead. I thought it was some kind of new makeup. My ex-husband thought I was stupid. Go figure. 😉 I had never been around Catholics before. LOL

    Like

    • 4sure says:

      Lutherans celebrate every aspect of Lent. At least in my Lutheran church. And many other denominations have begun to celebrate it community wide w/us. Granted, we are a small community.

      Like

  43. 4sure says:

    The stages of the cross during Lent.

    Stages of the Cross is a symbolic depiction of the Easter season. There are typically three (3)
    stages of draping the cross.

    The first stage when the cross is draped in purple, represents Lenten Season. The purple cloth remains on the cross from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday.

    The second stage with the cross draped in black, represents Good Friday. The black cloth remains on the cross from Good Friday, through Saturday (Day of Silence).

    The third stage with the cross draped in white represents Resurrection Sunday Morning (Easter Sunday). The white cloth remains on the cross from Easter Sunday through Ascension Day when the cross is rendered barren until next lenten season.

    I see most church denominations now observe the cross draping. When I was growing up, Lent was not observed by most denominations. I am elated that it is now being observed by most. It has such a profound meaning to me and reminds me during Lent of how my sins were atoned.

    Like

    • We, a Roman Catholic church, actually share a beautiful ceremony with our neighbors, a Greek Orthodox church. It is a special rite revering a physical cross and we have had occasions where a relic from THE Cross was brought to the church. It is performed in the Greek rite and it’s absolutely beautiful and moving.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I taped some of the stages of the Cross during Pope BEnedict’s time. My gosh it is no wonder that there was standing room only among his students when he was a teacher back in Germany. Love Papa Benedict.

      Like

  44. Norma Gay says:

    No formality is needed to fast and pray to our Lord Jesus Christ Messiah, our saviour and to thank Him for His Love for us all. Encourage all to have a personal relationship directly with the Word of YHVH. Churches have been infiltrated with Babylonian filth over the years so beware and Love the Word.Praise to YHVH Yeshua Ha’Mashiach Ruach Elohim! Love one another as God Loves You.

    Like

    • Thank you for this. I am so used to reading bashing that I initially interpreted this as a bash against ‘formality’, something evangelicals have from time to time thrown at Catholics as a negative thing.

      When I let the HOly Spirit do a little straightening of my heart and brain I saw that this is just a lovely reminder that any time and any place we can choose to fast and pray and grow in love.

      🙂

      Like

  45. LCMS Lutherans can receive ashes at an Ash Wednesday service as well.

    Like

  46. Deb says:

    Here are the lyrics to a hymn I listen too on Ash Wednesday. May everyone have a fruitful Lent!

    http://www.spiritandsong.com/compositions/1392

    We rise again from ashes,
    from the good we’ve failed to do.
    We rise again from ashes,
    to create ourselves anew.
    If all our world is ashes,
    then must our lives be true,
    an offering of ashes, an offering to you.

    We offer you our failures,
    we offer you attempts,
    the gifts not fully given,
    the dreams not fully dreamt.
    Give our stumblings direction,
    give our visions wider view,
    an offering of ashes, an offering to you.

    Then rise again from ashes,
    let healing come to pain,
    though spring has turned to winter,
    and sunshine turned to rain.
    The rain we’ll use for growing,
    and create the world anew
    from an offering of ashes, an offering to you.

    Thanks be to the Father,
    who made us like himself.
    Thanks be to his Son,
    who saved us by his death.
    Thanks be to the Spirit
    who creates the world anew
    from an offering of ashes, an offering to you.

    Like

  47. Roozter says:

    Thank you for this much needed reminder of how out of touch I have become!!

    Like

  48. freddiemacblog says:

    My LCMS pastor specified that he won’t be offering ashes tomorrow, as the service is in the evening. I do agree with his reasoning: ashes are a symbol of faith to the world, so why offer them when people will only go home and wash them off?

    Favorite gospel reading for Ash Wednesday is Matt 6:1-6,16-18. I especially like the emphasis on not calling attention to your sacrifices, but to do them quietly/privately and carry on with life as usual.

    I’ve been doing lots of Bible and theological study for the past several months, and I’m looking forward to digging deeper during Lent. My daily Catholic Bible has been a good tool for studying the Bible regularly, as the daily chunks are less overwhelming than the entire Bible.

    Like

  49. Margarita says:

    Ash Wednesday is one of the only two remaining Fasting-and-Abstinence days in the Catholic calendar. The other is Good Friday.

    That means adults (those who have attained the ‘age of majority’, which is 18 years in canon law) are bound by law to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday until the beginning of their sixtieth year.

    Only one full meatless meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. We can have two light snacks if necessary during the day, but combined, they should not constitute another full meal. Water, clear broth, tea, etc. are okay to drink anytime.

    Those that are excused from fast and abstinence outside the age limits include the physically or mentally ill including individuals suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Also excluded are pregnant or nursing women, and those engaged in hard physical labor who need their energy.

    In all cases, common sense should prevail, and ill persons should not further jeopardize their health by fasting.

    The Lord is good and merciful. A most blessed Lent, everyone!

    Like

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