I'm a little conflicted about this Lenten season.
First of all, it's officially begun and I'm still not sure what I'm giving up. Or adding on, because that's always an option too. I've considered giving up wine (well, really all alcohol, but wine is my poison of choice -- it would be really easy to just give up beer and liquor). I could try to give up complaining. Or I could try to add on prayer, because, occasional Our Fathers aside, I don't pray very often. I have many, many thoughtful "conversations" with God, but I don't usually cross myself and speak a prayer out loud, and I think that has its merits too.
I suppose I'll just have to keep all three in mind until I decide.
Secondly, I'm very unhappy with the way Church leaders are handling this whole birth control debacle (this doesn't count as complaining, right? It's sharing an opinion). Based on several discussions, I am most certainly not the only Catholic who feels this way. Seeing a huge panel of men discussing women's reproductive rights just feels wrong on so many levels. Without getting into all the logistics and arguments about it, I just feel like the Church should -- once again -- butt out here.
There are so many reasons women take the Pill; it's not just for birth control. I was ordered to take it for awhile by my doctor after my ER visit last fall. I wonder what would have happened had I gone to our local Catholic hospital instead, which on the one hand I have a big soft spot for, but on the other... well, you know. I'd like my doctor to prescribe whatever treatment he/she thinks is best to prevent another massively painful experience, and if that includes swallowing the Devil's candy for awhile, sign me up.
So I fear that attending these masses, which should be a very peaceful, spiritual experience, could quickly become a very infuriating one. Political issues come up sometimes in homilies, where I think they most certainly don't belong. And I consider this a political issue. Is preventing conception a moral issue too? Maybe. But once again, you can't legislate morality, and you shouldn't try.
But on the third hand... FISH FRY.
I love a good fish fry. I don't ever cook/bake/beer batter and deep fry fish myself, but if someone else offers it to me, complete with fries and crab cakes and homemade pirogi (not all at once... okay, maybe) I am inspired to sing the praises of Jesus. Fish fries are fun. All the old church ladies come out with their plastic gloves and their hair nets and their homemade desserts. Kids eat cold fish sticks, or sometimes try just one and then scarf the fries for dinner instead. It's magical.
So while I won't be attending today's noon Mass like I did last year -- and then walking around the rest of the day feeling like I have a billboard on my head supporting a current political stance that I do not believe in -- I might go tonight. That makes it feel more like a private expression of faith anyway (I'm well aware of the irony here that I'm talking about this being private on a public blog that I try to share far and wide, but, you know...)
But I am not ashamed to say that, whether or not I attend Mass, you will most certainly find me supporting the Fish Fry. I think they'll appreciate my $8 more than my heathen forehead anyway.