Written by Victoria Staples
Curiosity is good! I’m going to give you some background knowledge about Lent, so if you just happened to click on this link because you were curious, you will have an understanding why everyone should give up on Lent.
The word Lent is an Old English word meaning spring. It is the forty-day time period proceeding Easter. This is a time for Catholics to fast, abstain and pray … at least make a conscious choice to do so more than they have all year.
During Lent Catholics are asked to abstain from eating meat from Ash Wednesday, when the season of Lent begins, and on each Friday proceeding all the way through Good Friday. The biblical basis for this practice in the Old Testament is from the book of Daniel. “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia… ‘I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks, I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” (Daniel 10:1-3) and later in the New Testament, when the disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus’ response was this, “How can the guests of the Bridegroom mourn, as long as the Bridegroom is with them? The time will come when the Bridegroom shall be taken from them; then they shall fast.” (Matthew 9:14-17)
The purpose for abstaining on Friday is because that was the day Jesus died for our sins. Most Catholics may not realize this, but the act of performing some kind of penance on Friday is encouraged through out the calendar year, not just during Lent.
Now why we should give up on Lent?
I’m sure most people have wondered, “Why do Catholics give something up during Lent.” Why does the church ask them to do that?
The practice of “giving something up” during Lent is not mandatory, but no less important.
For an example, lets look at the life of an athlete. For any athlete to get better at their sport they must first train. They train their bodies for endurance by exercising. They strengthen their muscles to be stronger. They watch the calories they intake by eating healthy. They practice over and over again, so they become better and better at the sport.
Nobody gets better at something without first strengthening, working and enduring some pain in the process.
The same is true for virtue. Our virtues will not get stronger, unless they are first strengthened, tested and trained.
By training ourselves to resist temptation when we are not sinful, “the thing we decided to give up during Lent” we are training ourselves to reject temptation when it is sinful.
We are strengthening our self-control, patience and will power.
By teaching our children this practice, we will help to strengthen their need to learn delayed gratification. Our kids are growing up in a time when everything is instantly at their fingertips; they need to learn this practice more now than probably any period of history.
So, I want to encourage you to “give something up” for Lent. I challenge you to embrace this spiritual practice and teach it to your children.
Here is a list of 25 Creative Ideas on what to GIVE UP for Lent.
About Victoria: I grew up and still live in Massachusetts where my husband of almost 20 years and I are raising our three teenage children. As a cradle Catholic, my parents taught me the importance of daily prayer and receiving the Sacraments. I work during the school year as an Integration Assistant at an elementary school, assisting children with special needs. I also work nights, weekends, and any free moment I can find at my business it’s great to “BE” ®.