Lent. It has come again. It feels like just yesterday we began to prepare for Jesus’ birth with the beginning of Advent and now He has been born and baptized and lost in the temple again! (wait that is just a feast day 😉 ) In 40 days he will be crucified and then will rise from the dead three days later. It is the same every year and, in a way, becomes monotonous. Feast on Fat Tuesday, cover your forehead in a black smudge on Ash Wednesday (don’t know about you, but mine rarely looks like a cross), go back to your daily life except with the absence of chocolate and then “starve” on Good Friday, and finally feast on sweets on Easter to make up for all those days with no chocolate. Then we are back to our life and Lent is forgotten.
It doesn’t seem to change and if it is so meaningless why even have it? Can’t we just skip to Easter?
What is the whole purpose of Lent?
Lent is a time set aside each year for us to follow Christ into the desert for 40 days to grow in our faith and prepare our hearts to minister to the world like Jesus did in the desert before he went on his public ministry. The Catholic Church has given us this time to grow in holiness and closer to God through prayer, penance, and sacrifice, so to change your life from then on.
But how are we growing in holiness by just giving up chocolate for Lent and going right back to eating it at Easter? Did we learn anything from it?
I’m not saying we should give up chocolate forever so it truly “changes our lives,” but if it didn’t change us we are either doing the wrong thing or not enough for Lent.
What can I do then? This Lent I want to strive for something greater.
I want to have true joy at Easter because I am a new and better person. That could happen through giving up chocolate or going into hermit stage; it just depends how I live it out. Do I mope around whenever I see chocolate or do I offer up my chocolate cravings for someone who needs prayers right now?
However I don’t have to necessarily “give up” something; many people say for Lent they want to pray more. That is great! Pray more!
But if I truly want to deepen my faith and stay committed this sacrifice I need to be more specific. If I just say, “I’ll pray more,” I’ll just keep telling myself I will do it tomorrow and before I know it, Easter will arrive and I’ve done nothing.
What exactly will I do?
I could say the Our Father daily. I could read a chapter of the Bible daily. I could say the stations of the cross every Friday. By giving myself a more specific task it will be easier to hold myself accountable.
In other words… Do Something More This Lent.
I’m doing the Best Lent Ever program which will send me an email daily with a video, meditation, and prayer which only takes about 5 – 10 minutes to do. Or if you are really stuck, check this list that gives you a “102 Things You Should Really Give Up For Lent.”
Strive for something greater and it will change your life.
What are you doing for Lent? I’d love to hear in the comments below!