What Lent Means to Me

It is finally that time of year again: the season of Lent!  This season is a time for giving something up that adds pleasure to your life or a time for giving back to other people instead.  It also means that Easter and spring are on the way! Personally, I am not able to give something up because it is just too hard.  Instead, I choose to help people more often than I usually would.  Whether it be helping my grandmother with her groceries or helping to unload the dishwasher, I am always sure to put an additional effort into whatever I am doing so as to benefit others.

Being a teenager and being able to understand more about Lent has made my Lenten journey so much better. I am able to understand why we practice sacrificing and fasting during this holy season.  I did not think much of Lent until I got to be a little older and was able to realize that we give up something because Jesus gave up Himself for us.  The least we could do for Him is prayerfully and passionately participate in our own Lenten journey.

Some things that I do during Lent are reflecting more than usual, praying for other people that I usually wouldn’t pray for, helping out around the house, taking responsibility, and turning to God in tough situations. I tend to move away from these habits during Ordinary Time (period of the Catholic Church’s calendar that falls outside of the major liturgical seasons), but I now realize that these habits can help me during anytime of the year.

During Lent, everyone is so caught up in what they are giving up–not eating meat on Fridays or fasting, for example.  Of course all of these things are essential to achieving a successful Lenten season, but we do all these things for a reason. We do these things because we want to worship the Lord and we want to become more like Him.  It is important that during this season, we really try to connect with Jesus and find our best self by practicing good habits.

Try asking yourself this time of year, what can I do to fulfill my Lenten promises?  When you find your answer, take full action in trying to satisfy the special promises you have made.  I did this this year and it is keeping me motivated to stay true to Jesus and to complete my goals.  Talking to Jesus and reflecting on your day can help you in many ways too.  You do not always have to give something up.  Everyone thinks that giving something up means giving up your phone or sweets.  I agree, but it should not be for your benefit, it should really be for God.

Breaking Lenten promises will not help you in any way because you are not getting the full experience and you are not being faithful to God.  Am I saying that you have committed a mortal sin if you slip a couple times?  No, of course not.  However, people that make promises just to break them are not fully aware about what Lent is really about. No one is perfect and God understands that.  He will not penalize anyone for making a simple mistake.  All Jesus wants for us is to live a moral and holy life.  Not giving something up or breaking your Lenten promise once does not make Jesus love you any less.