The trials and tribulations of Lent

The trials and tribulations of the Lenten fast – Fred, from St Chrysostom’s congregation reports on his Lent so far

This week, I thought I’d update you on my own tribulations during my Lenten fast.

I am going meat, sugary snack, and disposable plastic free, and completely vegan on Fridays. Obviously the sugary snack thing is less for environmental reasons and more my attempts to avoid decadence and gluttony in this Season, but the others, on top of this, are there to honour the ​planet
​ that Christ died for.

It is not easy. On Friday I remembered while chomping some bread and olive oil spread for breakfast, that my homemade bread has butter in it.

Later that day, I bought some ‘plastic free’ tea bags for work (did you know most tea bags contain plastic and are ​not​ biodegradable?!?), only to find the inner packaging of the box was plastic based. The only soya milk is sold in plastic-heavy Tetrapak! I did remember to bring my own packaging to buy food from the cheese counter in the supermarket. But in order to weigh the cheese, the assistant used a plastic sheet. I asked if he could reuse it, but he said it was unhygienic.

It seems almost impossible to go plastic free these days. And that’s just the failures that ​weren’t my fault. On a family trip to Bolton on Saturday, I bought a takeaway coffee in a disposable cup at Piccadilly Station! I can try to excuse myself, that I was stressed, that the kids were driving me mad; that I had forgotten my reusable flask; but in the end, I chose to buy something I knew would be difficult to recycle, and for my own instant and short-lived gratification.

May I remind you that that was 4 days into Lent! I personally offered these failings, among other things, up during the general Confession on Sunday, and know I am forgiven; but can I continue to make promises and renege on them?

There have been victories. We now have milk delivered in glass bottles (not bad for local business either), and we have a local, organic vegetable box delivered on a Sunday. I have managed to totally avoid meat, even ordering a veggie burger on our Sunday trip to the pub after Mass! This may not sound impressive, but I’m the guy who once popped out of a vegan’s dinner party so I could buy some chorizo slices and get my fix. I tend to have meat 2 meals a day. Not only is this grotesque, it is environmentally unsustainable. So I, for one, am proud of myself.

Anyway, I suppose my point is to say that I am failing my Lenten Fast; but I am also doing rather well in a relative sense; and am certainly trying very hard (most of the time). If you are fasting, and struggling then you are not alone. Christ didn’t fail His fast, but there is a reason He is worshipped and we not, why we need salvation from Him and He ​needs
​ nothing. We are only human, and placing our best on the Altar of our everyday lives is all we can do; and with prayer and help from Above and from each other, that’s enough.

Well done, Fred! Do encourage him – and one another in Lent. Let’s invite Fred to contribute again about how his prgoress is going…

About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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