While most of us were still experiencing the after-effects of the deliciousness that is Fat Tuesday, last Wednesday marked the beginning of the 40-day Catholic season of Lent. Ash Wednesday, also known as National 'What In The World Am I Going To Give Up For Lent?!' Day is a day of fasting and abstinence when Catholics around the world attend a mass to receive a cross of ashes drawn on their foreheads or sprinkled on their heads.
While the tradition is a bit reminiscent of that scene in The Lion King where Rafiki "blesses" Simba, it represents a reminder of our mortality and the need to repent before the Second Coming. On Ash Wednesday, Catholics declare their Lenten Sacrifice, something they have chosen to give up in the hopes of becoming a better person. "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel."
This year was the first year in my 20-something years that I did not go to mass, which, ironically, is what led me to my Lenten Sacrifice.
Coco Note: No, I did not give up church for Lent.
The popular choices for a Lenten Sacrifice are usually soda, juice, pasta, rice or red meat-- all great choices if your goal is to take care of the body that God gave you, but what are you giving up to become a better spirit?
Hence why I've decided to give sacrifice myself for Lent.
Stay with me.
You might not know this about me (or maybe you do, yikes!), but I'm an extremely impatient person. I like things done fast and I like them done my way.
Coco Note: Seriously, it's better that way.
This Lenten season, I'm giving up myself. I'm sacrificing the me that I am now in the hopes of finding and maintaining a me that is better to myself and to others. A me that is a better soul and spirit.
I am not only giving up being impatient and (sometimes) rude, but also giving up my time. I am requiring myself to say a full rosary of the Sorrowful Mysteries every weekday in Lent and/or read an entire bible chapter, starting with Genesis. My hope is that I will not only become a better, more prayerful Christian, but I will also get to know my bible better.
But Lent doesn't have to be just for Catholics. Anyone can participate. The idea behind it is that you are sacrificing some part of you that is unhealthy, either to your own being or to others, to become a better person.
If giving something (or someone!) up isn't for you, you can join me and make a vow to DO something! You can exercise daily, volunteer, sponsor a child (check out the Love And Serve Haiti Mission!) or visit the sick or elderly.
It takes 21 days to create a habit, you've got 40. Let's do this!
Whether you're Catholic or not, what will your Lenten Sacrifice be?!