The Sunday before Lent starts is (in someplaces) called Pretzel Sunday. If you’re in Luxumbourg, it’s the third Sunday of Lent. In some traditions the Pretzels are a pre-Lent thing. In other traditions it’s the type of bread that was created to remain compliant with the abstinance rules of Lent. The bow of the Pretzel was meant to appear as folded arms in prayer. The three voids in the bow represent the trinity. But there’s also evidence that pretzels pre-date JC by hundreds of years and the three voids represent the sacred threes of pagan tradition. So *shrugs*. Pretzels.
For me, a warm soft pretzel at a hockey game or carnival or fall fair is a treat. The idea that it is a substitute because of the austerity of Lent seems incongruous to me. I mean, chances are that I won’t have the opportunity for many soft pretzels during Lent, so the point is kind of moot. This happens a few times during Lent for me. If the point is for me to feel the pull of something I want, and not have it. Or to feel denied something, I don’t. On Good Friday, a day of fasting and abstinance, my family gathers for Fishfest. There’s (arguably) our favourite pasta, and then 4 or 5 kinds of fish and seafood. We are not being denied. Certainly, we fast all day, and we are abstaining from meat, so fully within the rules. But we also come out of there feeling overfull and fully indulgent. I feel like that’s not exactly in the spirit of the exercise.
For the next few days, I have a bit of indulge time left before I make a dilligent effort to spring clean my soul and strengthen my spirituality. I’m also piggybacking an allergy elimination cycle on top of the lenten scarcity. I feel like that’s self-serving to Lenten effort, so it’s not, it just happens to coincide. That sounds like a wild rationalization, but here we are.
I struggle sometimes with what it means when something I perceive as a treat isn’t supposed to be. May the next 6 weeks provide time to think about what The Spirit of the Exercise really means.