Why Lent?

Lent CrossLent starts today for Western Christians. And, the internet is abuzz. Everywhere, there are questions: “what are you giving up?” “What should I give up?” Why should I give up?”

Our observances of this Holy Season are somewhat disappointing.

Lent is not about what you “give up!”

I know many people have grown up with this tradition and have great reasons that allow them to justify the practice. Yet, in basic, if Lent is about what you give up…what are we saying?

For instance: someone will give up chocolate for Lent. We can even go wild and say someone will give up sleeping around during Lent. What is the point of the exercise if as soon as the season is over you begin ho-ing around again? What has been accomplished?

Lent is not about giving something up that you intend to pick up again when Easter comes. Lent is about throwing off those things that prevent us from climbing to the spiritual heights of heaven!

Lent is about giving up our “quickness to anger,” or our “slowness to hear.” It is about throwing off our Pharisaical judgment, where we feel we are better than others because we are Christian. Lent is about giving up and throwing away our excuses for not structuring our lives in ways that make time for God, for Church, for prayer – daily.

What will you give up for Lent? Where are the ugly spots of you? What are the unbecoming character traits? What lifestyle choices have you made that screw up your priorities? What personal ways do you have that damage your relationship with your wife/husband…your child/parent? What habits do you hold onto that prevent you from being who you should be?

Lenten observance should be about three things: prayer, fasting and alms-giving. If you follow Jesus, then like Jesus during Lent you enter into the wilderness to be tempted.

Lent is supposed to be hard. Lent is supposed to be rewarding. Don’t miss your blessing by engaging in a superficial fast! May the Lord grant you a holy Lent! May your life be resurrected unto His glory! Amen!

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