Over the past 24 hours I’ve had a few people ask me what I’m giving up for Lent. Honestly, I hadn’t thought about it much, so I started doing a little reading. What are the most popular things to give up were and why do people do this? Two of the most popular things are Twitter and Chocolate. I’m uninspired.
I enjoyed reading about some facts. CNN Had a pretty simplistic article about some of the myths of Lent. (Which I’m sure are things that people easily get mixed up.)
Myth 1: Lent is 40 days | Counting from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, there are 46 days.
Myth 2: Lent ends on Easter Sunday | Lent ends on Holy Thursday.
Myth 3: Catholics abstain from meat during Lent | Only on Fridays during Lent are Catholics required to abstain from meat in remembrance of the sacrifice Jesus made on Good Friday.
Myth 4: The Pope decides the date of Easter | Ask the astronomers; it follows the moon. The earliest possible date of Easter is March 22, and the latest is April 25. This year Easter is on April 5.
Myth 5: Jesus went into the desert for 40 days before he was put to death | Actually, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert before beginning his public ministry, several years before he was crucified.
I continued reading and came across an article that analyzed the Pope’s take on Lent. In the article he explains that this change we are making, until Holy Thursday, is meant to bring you closer to other people and God. So the goal isn’t to give something up, but to make time for fellowship and working in other people’s lives.
So I don’t have to give anything up? Maybe not! Maybe instead of giving up TV you could make a promise to volunteer at a local shelter once a week or to visit a different relative each week. These type of things are ‘adding’ something to your life instead of giving something up, but the benefit will prove to be more.
Now, I’m not knocking your plan to give up chocolate (I will make the argument that giving up a food or drink you’re addicted to is good for you mentally and physically), but maybe you could add on something to that goal! The Pope made another good observation that giving something up and then posting about it over and over on Facebook isn’t a selfless act.
That’s what we’re doing, people. Let’s be selfless and make some good change.