During Lent

Catholics try to focus more on The Programmer than on the programmed entities around us. To that end, we try to give up things. Fasting and praying is part of this process. Once, in NYC for a trade show that spanned Ash Wednesday, I was walking down Broadway, and was struck by the number of people with ashes on their foreheads. Sophisticated Manhattanites carried a visible sign that they were serious about getting closer to He Who had programmed all, and their presence was encouraging to someone from the Midwest who thought New York was populated exclusively by the far left.

As we ask ourselves what we should give up, we may consider a monk in his cell. There is a bed, a Bible, a few books, possibly a change of clothing, a chair, a lamp, and a kneeler. Pens, paper, and possibly a computer are on a desk.

Then, we may look around our own rooms, basements, attics, garages, and storage sheds. After considering our vast accumulations, it’s not unnatural to avoid seriously thinking about what we can give up. Many of us have moving vans full of things we’ll never use, wear, or miss.

Lent is a good time to think about getting rid of some programmed entities.