Lent is the period of 40 days the Catholic Church is devoted to fasting, abstinence and penitence. In this period of time, church members decide to give up physical objects, bad habits or discipline one’s self such as eating candy, drinking pop or biting fingernails through this 40-day period. But have people lost the true meaning of Lent?
“Ash Wednesday is one of the most highly attended masses all year—besides Christmas and Easter—and people think it is a holy day but it really is not,” says May.
“There is something about those ashes that reminds us that we need to repent, that we are not going to live forever.”
Many people may feel obligated to go to church on two specific holidays, Christmas and Easter. Why people obligate these two days to go to church has become a mystery. Some reasoning for putting priority on these two holidays may be because of family tradition or the fact that people want to become reconnected with their faith through these specific holidays.
“Lent is important to me because it is a time to reflect on my life and make sacrifices,” says sophomore Jake Buelt. “It is also important because Easter was always a time for my family to get together.”
When deciding what to give up, most students base it off something they consume frequently. What to sacrifice or do more of has become a trend throughout multiple religions and not just the Catholic faith.
“I am reformed and I still believe that it can teach you an important lesson on what sacrifice really is,” says freshman Regan Cooper.
The number 40, which is synonymous with Lent, is important to the Catholic faith for several reasons. For 40 days, Moses remained close to God to receive his law on tablets of stone. For 40 years, the Jewish people wandered in the desert before entering into the kingdom promised by God, and Jesus went into the desert for 40 days after being baptized and his body and soul were separate in death for 40 hours. With the symbolism of the number 40, it has been a recognized time period to reflect or have a change in spiritual attitude.
“It is an attempt to say ‘I better get more serious about my relationship with God’ and I think it is a built-in period in the church.” says May. “I would say give up relationships that are in your way of your relationship with God.”
The university offers multiple retreats for self-reflection, has mass every day, and on Fridays—when meat cannot be eaten—there are alternative choices in the cafeteria such as fish, salads or pastas.
“I gave up pop this Lent because it is pretty important part of my life,” said Buelt. “It is a tiny sacrifice when you compare it to Jesus sacrificing his life for us, which Lent is all about, making sacrifices for ourselves and others.”
Posted inSubmitted by braunschweigc on Tue, 02/19/2013 - 17:13