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Is it sacrilegious to say 40 days and counting?  Not to get past fasting, abstinence, and prayer, but rather to get to Easter Vigil.  Lent is a very important time of prayer and penance for all catholics.  It is a big deal for catechumens and candidates as well.  It is the time that we dig deep, pray hard, and discern if we should continue forward in joining the Catholic Church.  Don’t think for a second that it is easy.  I’ve come to realize that there are many things that the Catholic Church teaches that do not fall in line with what I personally believe.  I’ve met cradle and convert catholics that have the same.  I listen to catholic radio a lot.  The apologists and orthodox laity refer to us as cafeteria catholics.  People that blithely pick and choose what they hold as true and what they reject.  That definition couldn’t be further from the truth actually.  Anyone that knows me, knows.  I am not flippant in my beliefs.  So the big crux for me is this:

How do I become a member of a billion + congregation when I don’t agree entirely with what they say I am to believe?

The answer is prayer.

I am sure many non-catholics would say, “Don’t join!  They are a homophobic, pedophile ridden, woman hating, institution that wants to control you!  You will become one of the sheeple!”

I am sure many catholics would say, “If you cannot hold true to all the teachings of the magisterium, why are you wasting your time?  Why are you entering our church if you are just going to do whatever you want anyways?”

What is more important to me is, “what does God want for me?  What does the holy spirit have to say to me, about this decision?”

Discernment is no small task.  Because of the pitfalls of being human and essentially selfish, I have to listen very closely and check my motives all along the way.

If there are a few readers that would like to pray with me (without motive), I certainly won’t stop you.

During Lent, many people, “give something up”.  The goal is to make a sacrifice that calls one to prayer.  This year is my first so I decided to keep it very simple.  I will follow Church guidelines on fasting for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  I will abstain from red meat on Fridays. I will also spend time daily in prayer and reflection.  I subscribe to the Magnificat.  It is a wonderful companion to use for going to Mass daily.  It also has essays and Saint biographies.  They publish a Lenten companion.  I bought one and will begin reading it today.  That seems like more than enough.  I see no reason to bite off more than I can chew.  Tonight I will go to an Ash Wednesday Service.