Pączki is pronounced puonch-key
Every month I'm a guest on Relevant Radio's daily call-in spiritual direction show "The Inner Life," hosted by Chuck Neff. Last week the producer wrote me about the topic for today's show and wondered if I wanted to talk about Lent. My first reaction was "No! We're going to have 40 days of Lent. No need to start it early." Instead, I thought it would be good to talk about Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday or, as it's often called in the Polish community of Milwaukee, Paczki Day. Is it OK for Christians to have fun? Of course! Jesus had fun. Unfortunately much of our religious art makes Jesus look as though he never cracked a smile and never laughed. He appears very somber and even scarey. But this can't be the way Jesus really was. No one would want to go near Him. Certainly not the children. Yet Jesus attracted droves of people to Himself. So Jesus must have smiled, laughed, had a good time, and genuinely enjoyed life. He even described heaven in terms of a big party or wedding feast and when He participated in a feast where the wine had run out, He made more. But what about "Fat Tuesday" and all the excesses we see? The tradition of over-indulging seems to have arisen from the logic that since we're going to have to fast and pray and go to confession, now's the time to party. This isn't really the best way to enter into Lent.