Late on a recent Friday afternoon during Lent, I pulled into a “drive-thru” to buy a fish sandwich. It was past two o’clock, and I was surprised to see a line of about twenty cars. I wondered if all of the people inside the cars were Catholic, but I didn’t wonder long. I put the hammer down to avoid being in the middle of a different kind of sandwich. I made a quick determination that it simply wasn’t worth a thirty-minute wait for something I really didn’t want to begin with. I was “following the rules” by abstaining from meat and going for a substitute. While I was eating a slice of leftover cheese pizza, I began to think about what would have kept me in that long line. Lobster Bisque, Dungeness Crab, or even a newly minted cheese pizza might have done the trick. As it was, I felt I made the right call, and scored thirty minutes of time that would otherwise have been lost.
The time we have been given each day amounts to twenty-four hours for each man, woman, and child. No one gets a second more, no matter what their socio-economic status. How that time is spent is a personal decision that is made according to the circumstances and preferences of the individual. The overarching question that comes up relative to the spending of this precious commodity is usually something close to “is this worth my time?”. Generally, who or what we “treasure” gets the lion’s share.
Lent is a period of reflection and recalibrating our priorities. We can temporarily replace persons, places, or things normally at the top of our “list” with respect to the allocation of our time with prayer, fasting and giving alms. Ideally, this reordering can extend beyond Lent and the Easter season to daily life throughout the year.
If a fish sandwich on Friday represents a means to accomplish the objectives listed above, then it is certainly worth the time. A slice of leftover pizza will also suffice if necessary.