Lent Causes a Few Pangs of Jealousy
'Being Catholic was like being a member of a great club with a lot of secret handshakes.'
BY: Eric Edwards
ORLANDO, March 27 - We are deep into the season of Lent, and some remarkable things have been happening to me.
For starters, I am surprised to find that I am no more Catholic than I was when "holy season" started. I have also discovered that not being Catholic at this time of year means I don't have to give up a bunch of stuff as my Catholic friends do.
Normally the idea of giving up stuff I like is not something that appeals to me. But because I am a guy and not a very mature one I tend to get jealous when I am excluded from things.
Even things like Lent.
To be honest, I guess you could say I have Catholic envy.
Maybe it is the atonement of sins through penance, maybe it is the tradition that dates back as far as my calendar, or maybe it was all those movies in the 1980s that depicted Catholic girls in private-school uniforms as the quintessence of sexy.
I possess all the requisite skills to be a Catholic: I respect people who dress in black, I harbor tremendous feelings of guilt, and I like wine. Not to mention I don't spend much time at Protestant churches, regardless of my being a Presbyterian in good standing.
For much of my life I have been surrounded by Catholics. Maybe it is a case of the grass being greener on the other side, but my friends always seemed to be having a lot more fun than I was. Never mind the fact that they got cool stuff, like beads, and could chant Latin phrases.
Being Catholic was like being a member of a great club with a lot of secret handshakes. And being Presbyterian was more like going to church and singing occasionally.
This particular Lent struck a strong chord in me for some reason. One day I was out celebrating Mardi Gras, and the next day, while I was at the grocery store nursing a hangover, I noticed a woman who had a smudge on her forehead.