I am really looking forward to the beginning of Lent on Wednesday. In truth, it is one of my most favorite seasons of the year. And I need it more than ever this year.
While the birth of Christ is indeed a celebration, Easter is the reason for our redemption. The reason we have a home in Heaven is because Jesus suffered, died, and rose from the dead for us.
Though Easter is a glorious day, we can’t celebrate just yet. We need to center our hearts toward Jesus and our eternal salvation.
We are all guilty of doing things that do not reflect our desire to go to Heaven. We misuse our time. We spread gossip. We greedily surrender ourselves to worldly and material things. We laugh at someone’s expense. We are unkind to both our enemies and our friends. We abuse our bodies.
Lent is the perfect time to let go of those selfish behaviors. It is the time to reflect on Christ and His suffering. It is the time to offer a sacrifice of our own to our Lord.
As a “cradle” Catholic (born into and brought up in the faith), it has been engrained in my mind since childhood that Lent is about giving up something- chocolate, french fries, Cokes.
As I’ve grown in my faith journey, I’ve discovered that there is so much more to it than that.
Indeed, giving up Coke would be the ultimate challenge for me. Its only rival might be giving up Facebook. But I’ve gone down both roads before and I’ve failed.
If by chance at all I make it those 40 days with nary a Coke in sight, the first thing I do come Easter morning is pour myself an icy cold glass. And I’ve learned nothing.
Drinking too many Cokes is not the barrier between me and my home in Heaven. Rather the Cokes (among other things) allow me to disrespect the body that God gave me. Facebook itself is not the problem either if used within reason and for the right reasons. It is that I am neglecting priorities by sitting and surfing. I’m not being the person God’s called me to be.
What our Lord is really asking of us during this Lenten season is to make real and permanent changes within ourselves. He’s asking us to spend more time in quiet prayer. He’s asking us to do things that allow us to grow spiritually. He’s asking us to give to those in need, befriend those who are lonely, sacrifice of ourselves for the sake of others. He’s asking us to fast from both food and the sinful things that we do.
Rather than giving up Coke this year, I’m making real lifestyle changes in order to respect and honor my body.
Rather than giving up Facebook (and blogging and surfing the Internet), I’m setting strict time limits to ensure that my children, my husband, and my home come first.
I’m reading books that will feed my spirit and my faith.
I’m spending more time in prayer.
I’m raising the bar on myself as a person.
Whether you ordinarily “give something up” or not, I challenge you to consider the areas of your life where you seem to be coming up short. What are the reasons behind those shortcomings? Prayerfully consider how you can make a permanent change.
Tell me your thoughts on this! Do you agree? Do you typically give something up for Lent? Why or why not?
Life happens when we make changes for the better. Life happens when we grow in faith.
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