Lent is a season about giving

By Joe DeMarzio
March 6, 2010

The time for making sacrifices  is upon us again, and Lent is in full throttle right now.  The Lenten season, when Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Christ, lasts 40 weekdays, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday.

“Lent is a time to help all of us to grow spiritually.  To realize that this spirituality should be not just something we acquire for Lent but that should become part of our everyday lives.  Then by Easter we will become a different, much better person than when Lent began,” Sister Marita Barrington, who has been serving in the Order of Saint Francis for 60 years, said,

Over the course of the years, the act of sacrifice for Lent has been taken seriously by a number of Christians. However, some may wonder why the older generation takes it more seriously than the younger generations.  How does one choose what to give up?

“I’m not so sure if it is all about giving up as much as it is about giving to [others].  In the early Church if someone gave up a meal and fasted they didn’t fast just for the sake of fasting.  They shared this meal with someone less fortunate.  They gave to the community,” Renee Lavender, director of Religious Education for Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Mullica Hill, N.J., said.

It is hard to make the choice on what to give up. Most people nowadays will say they are giving up candy, yet still have one or two pieces when no one is looking.  It has been reported that the standards have changed for Lent.  Most adults will take Lent more seriously than the younger generations of Christians.  Could it be because of the lack of maturity in teens?

“I think that maturity always deepens our appreciation for the things that are most important.  So, what we may miss as teenagers may be found as we grow and mature.  That seems to be the way of faith, love and even wisdom.  It takes time to appreciate and embrace,” Father Anthony DiBardino, Pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Parish, said.

“Just because some teenagers out there do not take Lent seriously does not mean that it is that way all across the board,”  Maureen Hammond, sophomore pre-med major, said. “I plan to stick to the thing I gave up, not just for the sake of Lent, but to better myself, too.”

As humans and as Christians, we should not look at Lent as giving up something just because you have to, but rather to better yourself and to help others.

“‘Giving Up’ is a catch phrase that grew into a Lenten slogan.  What Lent really should be is giving ourselves to share faith with those who have no one to share with them,” Barrington said.

So instead of giving up the cliché candy and junk food for Lent, try to think of a deeper meaning behind what it really means to make sacrifices for you and for the benefit of others.

“It is an adventure and a journey that has high points and lower points, but all to the purpose of growth,” DiBardino said.

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Joe DeMarzio

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