Giving Up Stuff for Lent
This practice of "giving up something for Lent" is not bad in itself, especially given the fact that many have never cultivated a habit of sacrifice on an ordinary day. It's a shame that it takes a special occasion to teach the virtue of sacrifice, but we are speaking of a reality of modern and affluent life here. One may be shocked that a simple act of sacrificing one's time spent on social media such as Facebook or Twitter is to be construed as a huge sacrifice for some these days. Yes, the fact that having to sacrifice something so trivial is so significant an act shows how we've been held captive by the power of a narcissistic society.
However, it must also be mentioned that many can - and DO - give up their trivial stuff for Lent without ever having to progress beyond a focus on that act itself, which, ironically, can be a narcissistic act in itself. What this means is, if Lent is merely about "giving something up" which we will only begin devouring wholeheartedly again once we're done with the Lenten season, then we have done a great job at missing the whole point of Lent.
At Lent, we are reminded about how we are so often "selflessly" distracted by the needs of other people whom we care for and in whose lives we have vested interests. We are also reminded of how we often forget to abide by the Code of Living to which we are bound by virtue of our relationship with God. The whole point is, we often forget what it means to be the People of God. We forget, we forget, we forget. Lent is an invitation to remember once again. It is a call to go back to the way of life to which we have once been called and to which God continuously calls us.
It is so possible for us to fast from meat, to give up our social media habits, to detach ourselves from our usual communication habits, to fast from swearing, or to even say more prayers or to go to Church more often -- and to STILL miss out on the posture to which Mother Church is calling us throughout the season of Lent.
Ultimately, if we intend to just go right back into the practices that we have given up for Lent once the season is over, we might as well just forget it, because more likely than not, we have missed the point. If the new 40-day rhythm we have established is not going to propel us into a new way of life, a life of constant self-examination and conversion, then no amount of meat that we give up is ever going to do us any good.
Give up your Facebooking and your Twitting and your Whatsapping and your Line-ing if you must, but remember, the Church is ultimately calling you to something greater, something bigger. In Lent, the Gospel compels us to return to our identity as God's People. If we find ourselves having new rights to brag about how many hours of Facebooking we have sacrificed during Lent or how many pounds of meat we have forgone, I'm afraid we're not quite ready to appreciate the depth of the Easter that follows. Because come Easter, at the glorious Vigil, when we celebrate the Feast of Feasts, we will be greeted with a series of readings from Scripture retelling the story of how we became God's People.
Sister Mary Cecilia Liew..FSIC
9/3/2022 10:15:21 am
Highly appreciated n a wonderful reminder esp. for my age...This is part of my ongoing formation.T Q so much Rev Deacon Sherman...for your generous sharing of hard work
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