The Many Wonders of Lent

Lent season is upon us. Last Wednesday marked the 40-day period Jesus spent in the wilderness, preparing to begin his ministry. A common question during this time is, “What are you giving up for Lent?”

 

For those interested, the aspect of giving up something for Lent is meant to symbolize Jesus’ 40-day journey where he fasted, prayed and resisted temptation. It’s common to do some sort of fasting to cut out things that distract you from God, whether you skip a meal and pray, stop eating your favorite food or take a break from social media, except for Sundays.

 

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday, and if you count all days, you end up with 46. There may be 46 days within the Lenten season, but only 40 of them are part of the Lenten fast. The reason that Sunday does not “count” is because since the earliest of days, “Church has declared that Sunday, the day of Christ's Resurrection, is always a feast day, and therefore fasting on Sundays is forbidden.” This doesn’t mean you can seek out and feast on what you’ve fasted on every Sunday, it just means that you shouldn’t have to avoid it either.

 

I grew up in the heavily Roman-Catholic area of Boston, where Lent was a very common practice. Throughout my time there, I did the whole “give up soda, candy, snacking, social media”. It was definitely a challenge, don’t get me wrong. There were so many times that I was presented with temptation like Jesus was, but I overcame it. However, through these many years of treating Lent as a time to give up something, I found that it wasn’t a very effective practice for me. I would struggle to give up something, but after it was over, I felt as though nothing had changed.

 

Therefore, I’ve decided to change my way of approaching Lent. Instead of giving up something, I’m working on becoming a better Catholic and person overall. I hope to cultivate a life of gratitude for all that I’ve been blessed with throughout my life. Each year, it’s more rewarding and I feel as though it has a lasting impact on me.

 

Those of you who are struggling with your Lenten journeys as I have, consider trying different things. Fast something you haven’t before, give your time and volunteer more, pray for others or even go deeper into the Bible. If you do something you feel will benefit you and connect with the reason for Lent, go for it.