As a child, I thought Lent was a time to stop eating chips or chocolate and start helping mom with the chores. It meant that the Church was colored up-and-down with purple fabric, and that 40 was the most important number.
However, that is simply the surface idea of Lent. For those of you who aren’t quite sure what Lent is, it is a Christian holiday lasting for 40 days and 40 nights, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.
Lent is a time for reflection, a journey into understanding one’s self to become a better person. It is a preparation for Jesus’ sacrifice at his crucifixion, where we are granted forgiveness and a promise for God’s kingdom. However, how can you live out Lent?
Lent is like a quarter check-up New Year’s resolution. You work hard to do things you should do, and stop doing things you shouldn’t. Making a list of activities or skills that you want to improve on, for instance, are great ways to learn more about yourself and better yourself this season.
In my freshman year of high school, I had made a poster reminding me of what I wanted to work on. At the time, I felt I had lost my “creative” side, so I set up time to make something creative, whether it was a candle holder or a short story.
The activity brightened my day, forced me to self-reflect, and reminded me of my skills and talents. Lent may require a lot of planning, but if it is something you enjoy and you know is good for you, then there isn’t anything wrong in placing your entire being into it.
During this season, we are also told to make sacrifices. One of the most infamous Lenten concepts is not eating meat on Fridays. However, why do we abstain from the carnage of mammals and birds? According to bulldogcatholic.org, we abstain from meat to express obedience for God’s will as described through the Church.
In showing that we obey the Church, we also express how much we love God to make a small sacrifice in return for God sacrificing his only Son. We give up meat specifically because it used to be associated with luxurious feasts.
Fish is an exception to this rule because, during ancient times, fish wasn’t seen as a luxury meal. Our abstinence from pork, beef, lamb, chicken and other poultry and meats is perceived as a sweet sacrifice and an act of love. This year, keep in mind that it is a time of self-reflection and self-improvement.
Do not lose sight of whatever it is you choose to accomplish this season, whether it’s getting better at a talent or giving up on something toxic. May the Lenten season be with you!