Well, actually, I don't have a larder. I don't even have lard.
But I am Christian, and Lent starts on Wednesday, and I will be fasting.
This will be my first Lent as a member of my Benedictine Canon community. My daily prayers in this community have brought me to a profound awareness of my sisters and brothers who suffer. There are countless people in the world at this very moment who are oppressed, in danger, starving, naked, or enslaved.
I find myself asking what I can do to be in solidarity with all my sisters and brothers who suffer. I'm not in a position to save the world; nor am I in a position to save even one person. I'm no savior. But the one I acclaim as savior is someone whose behavior I can emulate. I can, in my twenty-first-century middle-class American context, step away from my everyday life and take on a journey that isn't surrounded by easy comfort.
It seems silly to do this, mainly because it is my choice to do so. What does it mean to choose to make a sacrifice if I can always choose at any moment to turn back to the way things were? I'm always operating from the privilege of my ability to choose, and in that sense my sacrifice is folly. Nevertheless, I choose to let go of my normal life during Lent with the hope that I might be transformed for the sake of the common good--and transformation will not necessarily be my choice, my doing, my accomplishment.
During this Lent, my penance will involve giving up three things: 1) sweets, 2) meat, and 3) my favorite go-to social network, Facebook. (When my darling husband reads this, he won't believe it. He knows me. These are three of my favorite things.)
I don't know what I or anyone else will get out of my Lenten penance, but I suspect I will feel a great emptiness almost immediately--and in the difficult-to-me facing of that emptiness over the coming six weeks, my heart may break. If it does, what wisdom then will my heart be finally ready to receive? What good will I be empowered and inspired to do? What injustice will I realize I can no longer overlook, thanks to my recognition of my personal ability to make a tangible difference in reversing that injustice?
This Lent, I will seek to empty myself of what is desirable but not important, so there might be enough spaciousness within me to bear something difficult and radically important: Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. -Galatians 6:2