As a staunch Roman Catholic, I believe that Lent is a time for prayer and penance. Before Our Lord went out to minister, He went and lived in the desert for forty days. During those forty days, He fasted and prayed. He was also tempted by the devil. Like Our Lord, we are called to imitate Him during these forty days so that we may be cleansed of our sins and be ready to receive Him at Easter.Giving up something is part of Lent, but it isn’t an end in itself. Our Lenten experience should not be about giving up trivialities like Facebook or drinking, but about dying to sin and saying yes to God. We are to do this by fasting and abstaining from meat, extra prayers, and more time spent in front of the Blessed Sacrament as well as more frequent assistance at Mass. Each of these practices is meant for us to grow closer to Christ during this most holy time of the church year.
In my own daily life, I try to spend as much time as possible with God. I pray several times a day and attend Mass as often as I possibly can. I do not do these things to be seen by others or because I am holier than anyone else. Rather, I am sacrificing parts of my day so that I can be closer to God. By sacrificing those things that are least necessary in my life and replacing them with things that are useful and meaningful to my soul, I am saying yes to God. Not only am I saying yes, but I am also allow Him to plant seeds in my soul and to plough it.
For many of us, Lent may be nothing more than giving up something for forty days and then falling back into it on Easter Sunday. But wouldn’t it be wonderful and, dare I say it, more efficacious if we died to ourselves this Lent? Wouldn’t be more wonderful for us to work on such things as selfishness, forgiveness, and love rather than smoking or drinking? There’s still time for us to make a new resolution.