Well, it must be almost Lent.  My Christmas tree is gone and my apartment looks bare.

Mardi Gras is kind of a funny thing.  It always felt funny to me.  I couldn’t explain it until I began really reflecting on the Church’s feasts and fasts.  I’m not against living it up before we all start to fast… but if you notice, the Church generally fasts before She feasts, not the other way around.

I’m going out to dinner tonight, and I plan on drinking a beer and eating something chocolate for dessert.  I’m not saying it’s wrong to live it up today.

But are we living it up today so we can fast tomorrow?  How many people are drinking to excess today only to not even give up alcohol for the next forty days?  People celebrated “Carnival” with the eating of meat — why?  Because they weren’t going to eat it for the next forty days!

When I was England for the beginning of Lent a few years ago, we celebrated “Pancake Tuesday.”  To the French this may be Mardi Gras, but to the English today is named after the food they’ve traditionally consumed on this day.  Since people used to give up milk, fat, and eggs for Lent, they would use up those ingredients by making pancakes the day before Ash Wednesday.

Now that’s living it up, folks!  Pancakes!

So remember — it’s not wrong to party today.  But keep it in perspective.