I don’t really understand the whole idea of pancake Tuesday or Mardi Gras or any kind of celebration that encourages over indulging just before Lent. Some would call me a little extreme for saying that I think pancake Tuesday is arguably as spiritually damaging as the more extravagant and mostly wild parties that some cultures put on nearing Ash Wednesday. However, I stand by my opinion since pancake Tuesday and Mardi Gras share the activity of committing today our vices, sins, and indulgence! Moreover, it is not just simply doing them, but to perform them in extreme ways. These activities are reasoned out with the damaging rationale: “tomorrow is Lent.” In other words, tomorrow, we have to change so lets get it all out of our system today.
This kind of reasoning is just irrational since virtue is not learned overnight, but worst, the idea of fasting and penance for Lent are not seen for what they are: light and joyful spiritual blessings which teach us how to love God more, how to love our neighbor, how to love ourselves and in turn how God loves our neighbor and us. In the mentality of pancake Tuesday and Mardi Gras, holiness is not something sweet as the maple syrup or the company of half-naked women and men on the streets.
I think all of this can be compared to the boys going to the “strip club” or paying for the dancers to entertain them the night before his wedding because tomorrow, he will have to promise his fidelity (as if faithfulness is learned overnight). Unfortunately, there is something worst, throughout his marriage, he dreams about the good old days of his single life, of his last wild party to the point that he is displeased with his obligations and sacrifices to love his wife in the present moment. He sees marriage as how lent is presented to our present culture: a burden, lacking joy, and without love.
How are we to become faithful and in love with someone tomorrow if we choose to be unfaithful and unloving today?
Begin today the love you hope to have tomorrow.
p.s. Sorry for bashing pancakes…