How is Lent going for you? Are you relishing your new Lenten discipline? Or are you wavering? Maybe you’ve forgotten what you gave up or took on…? Someone once said it takes 21 days to form a new habit. In 2009, research by Phillippa Lally and her team from University College London found that on average it takes 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic.
We are now halfway through Lent, so be encouraged. This Sunday is Laetare Sunday. Laetare is Latin for ‘rejoice’ and the fourth Sunday of Lent is also known as Refreshment Sunday. It was recognised that people need a break from sorrow, and so the strict self-denial of Lenten discipline was relaxed at this mid point. Traditionally on Laetare Sunday people would attend their mother church ie. the parish church where they had been baptised or their closest cathedral, hence the term ‘Mothering Sunday’. Young people who worked away from home in domestic service or serving apprenticeships would get the day off to visit their families. It became customary for young people to bring a gift for their mothers, whom they wouldn’t have seen for a year.
So take heart, rejoice in all that is good and life-giving; be refreshed this Sunday, hug someone you love…and maybe visit your local parish church.