Lent for A Non-Catholic.

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Religious activities can be a part of one’s faith, and/or one’s culture. In New Orleans, and across Louisiana, there is a high concentration of Catholic worshipers. However, partaking in carnival and the events that would come after is not just a Catholic act. The activities of many Catholic observances are deeply rooted in the culture. You will see people of various faiths take in carnival, and then get ashes on Ash Wednesday. It is so much apart of culture that many don’t realize they partake, and it is second nature to them. When these rituals become culture, you will find many people observe the parts that speak to them culturally while leaving strict observance for the parishioners. You won’t find me at Mass, but I most certainly got my ashes. When asked what I’m giving up for lent I have an answer; when asked if I am Catholic I simply say no…I’m New Orleanian.

For a Non-Catholic there might be absolutely no disruption in one’s diet while enjoying the many seafood options that are abundantly available. What one gives up can be dietary, or something that is for personal growth. I find that this is very difficult to explain outside of community if you are giving up something that can be seen or observed. The grilling about religion begins, and it is often misinformed and hurtful. The marriage of religion and culture is one New Orleans experiences at various times of year. I don’t have to be Catholic to observe All Saints Day…It’s apart of my culture. If one is willing to have an open mind there can be a positive exchange about culture in this state, and the city of New Orleans without judgement, or a denominational fight. I’m non-denominational, d attend church on Sunday. I will not get into a fight with someone about whether cultural observance is to be scrutinized, and no one truly wants to open that can of worms being black in America. Scrutiny would mean there would be times we shouldn’t even appear to be celebrating.

This year for lent I will focus on giving up internal negative speech. I will use this as a time to give positive energy to the words I speak upon myself. This has spiritual and cultural significance. So, no I won’t be giving up red meat, or sweets. For me those would be so much easier than trying to love myself well. Of course, I will look forward to my seafood on Friday as I embark upon the biggest challenge I’ve had for lent. Sometimes it’s so much easier to love on, believe in, and encourage others…while we tear self-down. I’m hoping this is something that will take root during lent and continue on to be a norm for me…apart of my quest to be right speaking.

Lent, regardless of why, is a challenge. It requires meditation, discipline, and sacrifice of some sort. We do these things spiritually, and culturally these things are not merely Catholic. The dates leading up to Easter Sunday belong to all of the faith…not just the Catholics. If lent is something by which you want to partake being it spiritually, culturally, or both I encourage you to go for it.

Staff Writer; Christian Starr

May connect with this sister over at Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/christian.pierre.9809 and also Twitterhttp://twitter.com/MrzZeta.