Lenten Bingeing…For Good

People have been bingeing on TV shows, apparently, according to many boring recent articles. “Who cares?” I think, when confronted with boring prose about boring activities. “They’re just watching TV.” However, a few days ago, I found myself “bingeing” on something (during Lent!): I stayed up well past Quaker Midnight reading issues of Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact.

Has a publication’s title ever been more honest? No. Each issue of TCoFF, which was given to Catholic school students from 1946-1972, is positively chock-full of delight.  It covers both “fun” and “fact” with features about American history, craft projects, and delightful serials like “The Robinsons’ Rumpus Room,” and my favorite, “Chuck Jones.” I may have to live-tweet and/or recap Chuck Jones in the future because it is pure. dynamite.

When I clicked on Issue #1 and saw a feature on my favorite time of the year: Lent I felt a bit of a tingle. Was it the Spirit? I can’t really say. For those who have questions as to what this frequently misunderstood season is all about….read on. The wonderfully named Father Wilfred Diamond has answers.

Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact
Those cranky kids in the first panel just aren’t having it. Also, note the happy cow and grumpy fish. But look at champion runner Greg Rice of Notre Dame!
Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact
World-record holder Greg Rice didn’t just train his body, children. He trained his soul. Greg was a daily communicant, Miraculous Medal-wearer and rosary-sayer. Maybe instead of drugs, our athletes just need a daily dose of the Eucharist and Our Lady. Look at what it did for Greg Rice is all I’m saying. He outwitted “the world, the flesh and the devil” and won the Sullivan Award, OK?

Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact

So what does all this have to do with you? I’ll tell you what. If Jesus could fast for 40 days and then die while hanging on a cross, you can show a bit of gumption yourself. Give something up, like candy, movies, or backbiting. Do things like saying the Rosary, taking Communion, or just plain doing the dishes. Stick with it, and by Easter, you, too, will feel quite glorious and maybe even a bit Greg-Ricey yourself.

I must thank the Old Folk Mass Music page on Facebook for introducing me to these comics. Thanks also to The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. for kindly allowing me to borrow these images and to Jane Stoeffler for her assistance.

Mary Valle lives in Baltimore and is the author of Cancer Doesn't Give a Shit About Your Stupid Attitude: Reflections on Cancer and Catholicism. She blogs on KtB as The Communicant. For more Mary, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.