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Lent: more than giving up chocolate?

Alejandra Mato

The mark of our 2024 Lenten season began when we received a cross of ashes on our forehead on February 14. This day brings to mind a common question: “What am I giving up for Lent?” 

People sometimes think they must give up something they enjoy, such as chocolates or other sweets. But we often fail to realize that the purpose of giving something up for Lent is not to make ourselves suffer. Instead, we should give up something or engage in a new activity that will bring us closer to God. This is the purpose of Lent. 

This idea of having to suffer can actually weaken the representation of Christ that we reflect. 

As Father Vallee said in his homily on Ash Wednesday, “If giving up chocolate is going to make you mean and greedy, then don’t give up the chocolate.” Father Vallee means that if giving something up that you enjoy will cause you to be unhappy and not a better Catholic, then your efforts for Lent are backward.  

Fulfilling the purpose of Lent is easier than you might think. If you typically spend a lot of time watching movies and lounging around on a Sunday and do not go to mass, Lent is the opportunity to fix that. Giving up lazy Sundays and instead making time to go to mass is a great way to bring you closer to God in the Lenten season. 

Not only should we be giving up something, but also giving to something. This is called almsgiving. It is important to make sure we share our blessings with others. Almsgiving can include donating old clothes to a charity or picking up cans at the grocery store and donating them. Giving like this will remind you of how blessed you are and allow you to spread your blessings to the less fortunate. 

As 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 

God calls us to give, and that is something to always be worked on, but most especially during Lent as we prepare and dwell on Jesus’ death and resurrection. 


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Alejandra Mato
Alejandra Mato is a junior at Carrollton. This is her first year working with the Beat, and she is very excited to design fun graphics.

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