Lent is a very simple business. It is human beans who try to make it complicated. I think the main problem is that you all talk too much. You have too many words! Dogs have no words, but we do have language. From the tip of our nose to the end of our tail, we are all doggy expressiveness. That is very important when it comes to prayer. I don’t say extra prayers like some of you human beans, I just pray. I look at God; he looks at me; and everything is tickety-boo. He knows I love him, and when he sees me stretched out before the altar or prowling round Them while They sing the Divine Office, he knows I’m happy just to be with him, which is all he really wants — our being with him, and being happy.
Fasting is a bit of a toughie for a dog. We were made to be easy to please and it is in our nature to scoff everything in sight. But we do our bit during Lent by being grateful for our daily rations and showing our gratitude by going into ecstasy when the same, boring old kibble plops into our feeding-bowl. We don’t need elaborate plans for giving up X or Y. We have no choice; and it is only because human beans have choice that you get so complicated about it. I sometimes want to say, ‘Don’t waste time thinking about how good you are to be giving up sweets, try a bit of self-forgetfulness and gratitude instead. Grace before and after meals is much better than chocolate.’ Mind you, it wouldn’t hurt some of you to cut back and give what you save to your local Food Bank, but do it because you love God and other people, not because you want to get your waistline in better shape. (Dogs are much better for that, anyway: walkies is good for you as well as us.)
Finally, almsgiving. Now that I’m getting old and grey(ish), I realise that this is simple, too. Yes, if you can, there are lots of opportunities for human beans to be of service to one another, but sometimes just being with someone is a gift in itself. I know that whenever I accompany BigSis to the hospital, I cheer lots of people up just by trotting along beside her. They seem to find me comical, for some reason. And when visitors come to the house, I give them my very special PBGV look, then they don’t feel lonely or sad any more. There are lots of lonely and sad human beans in the world, and they aren’t all lucky enough to have a dog to be friendly with. See what you can do instead.
So, that’s that. Lent in three easy steps. Or, how to be good made easy. 😉