It’s that time of year again. The time/day of year where Gluttony goes out the window and the accepted practice is one of endulgence. The time of year where you hear many people asking what the other is giving up for Lent. This is a time of year that many dread. Why? Because our society has become very selfish. Because no one LIKES to make sacrifices. Lent is a time of reflection, prayer, and sacrifice as we prepare for Jesus’ resurrection on Easter.
I am Catholic and I went to Catholic School from age 2 through my sophomore year of high school. During my College years, I found myself drifting away from the church. I could go on and on about my reasons (or excuses), but all reasons aside, when it came to Lent, I found myself front and center. For some reason, this time of year was always very important to me. Lent has always been a humbling reminder of the sacrifices Jesus made for us. These 40 days are a time where we should join Jesus on his way to the cross. The Ash Wednesday Gospel always speaks volumes to me, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18. This time of sacrifice is a time to search within, a time to reflect, a time to sacrifice. It is not a time to seek notoriety or reward for one’s sacrifices. It is for this reason that it gets to me when people feel the need to shout to the rooftops what they are giving up for Lent. Why the need to publicize? God wants us to be humble in our sacrifices and act in this way not to seek fame or a pat on the back, but merely as a personal reminder of what Jesus did for each one of us. This has become more and more difficult with the role that social media has played in our lives. We are so accustomed to sharing our thoughts/ difficulties with others that when it comes to Lent, we find it difficult to keep our burdens from others.
Beside giving something up, I always find it even more important to determine what is it I want to do DO for someone else. Talk about the Ultimate sacrifice.
I leave you with this “challenge”
1) Decide what you really enjoy about your life and choose to offer up any area that may be difficult for you.
2) Keep this sacrifice to yourself. Tell only your Spouse or Significant other (especially), but otherwise maintain silence when it comes to what you have given up. My Husband and I always have a great conversation on the eve of Ash Wednesday. Since we know each other so well we give our own recommendations.
3) Find something that you could do/ give back in exchange for something you are giving up.