Lent begins on February 17, 2021. This year, as we are still reeling from the loss and pain of a worldwide pandemic and unprecedented societal polarization, we might be tempted to think, “I’ve been forced to give up so much already! Why do I need to give up more for Lent?” This year, in the midst of chaos and anxiety, is actually the perfect time to participate in this beautiful act of sacrifice, reflection, and preparation.
For starters, the pandemic has taken so much from us, from jobs to lives. We can feel hopeless, but sacrificing something for Lent gives us a sense of control. When we successfully sacrifice a thing we claim to “can’t live without,” like Facebook or chocolate, we have room to fill it with something better for us, like reading or vegetables. Lent reminds us that we can choose what we value, but we must put in the work to live out these values.
Jesus spent 40 days praying in the desert before his Passion and crucifixion. It was a choice to sacrifice and endure temptation as he cast aside the pleasures of this life to fully welcome God’s plan for him. Today, our experience during Lent is intended to work the same way. We are meant to use this time to prepare for the coming of Christ, but before we can add more of God in our hearts, we must make room through sacrifice, just like Jesus did.
Giving something up is an opportunity to add on something greater. To help, St. Vincent de Paul of Los Angeles compiled a list of things to give up but reworded as add-ons to help visualize the true blessings of this Lenten sacrifice.
Ideas to Add On this Lenten Season:
- More Fruits and Veggies
- Compliments to loved ones and even strangers
- Praying the Rosary
- Phone calls or letters to distant loved ones
- Home-cooked meals
- Shopping second hand
- Drinking more water
- Reusable Bags
- 30 extra minutes of devotion or prayer time
- More walks
- Prayers for those who upset you
- Going to confession
- Time without your phone
- Items to your donation pile
- Earlier mornings
- Time reading the Bible