By Joyce Reyes-Aguila
Whether through fasting, penance, or other forms of sacrifice, we are all enjoined to solemnly observe Lent. Starting Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday, we commemorate and relive the suffering of Jesus Christ’s journey in the desert up until his ultimate sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection.Lent is a time of prayer and reflection and giving up of certain comforts, even temporarily. In Pope Francis’ message for Lent this year, he reminds that this time “summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life.”
You may have already given up your daily serving of soda, weekly trips to the movies, or even eating meat for Lent. But if you want to do more, your gadgets can be key to making this season more meaningful. Spending less time online by giving up your favorite apps can be a tall order. Yet in doing so, we will be given more time for prayer and devotional actions to allow us to truly commune with the spirit of the season. If you feel you will still be keen to spend a lot of time online, you can download apps like Lensanity that features activities and prayers for the season, and 3D Catholic for ideas of sacrifices you can make.
And just a few days, let go of these apps for Lent.
With over one billion users in the world,the social media app is a staple to many Filipinos – a constant source of information and entertainment. Giving it up seems almost impossible to do. To inspire you, Grace Elkus of realsimple.com shares a recent study by the Happiness Research Institute, revealing that users who gave up social media for a week felt more enthusiastic and were more likely to feel present in the moment. On the other hand, the 44 percent of the group that continued using the site felt more stressed and lonelier, aside from having difficulty concentrating. In the article Here’s How Giving Up Facebook Could Make You Happier, Elkusalso reports that while 69 percent of users post pictures of great things they experience, they do not necessarily feel personal satisfaction when they are exposed to their friends’ happiness.
The photo-based sharing app is another, especially those who want to see more photos and videos instead of words. In a recent piece for vogue.com, Michael Bechler recalls her experience of giving up the app for Lent for 40 days last year. While she sees the advantages of using the app, she said she was encouraged to compare her life to everyone else’s, even if she was aware of how blessed she was. During her Instagram fast, she wrote on Why I’m Giving Up Instagram for Lent that even if she was an outsider at events because she was not posting about decorations or cocktail selections, she loved being off the grid. She enjoyed not having anyone know about her whereabouts and found herself paying more attention to television shows and movies. “With such a huge distraction removed from my life, I found myself living in the moment and less likely to reach for my phone when boredom struck,” she wrote. “My anxiety did not disappear, but it was noticeably less frequent. I focused on my own life and happiness, which meant what was in front of and around me, not that which was filtered on a tiny screen.”
Do without the video-sharing app for a few days. How many hours do you spend streaming videos? How many weekends have you spent glued to your screen? You can donate your time in your community chapel to prepare for Easter celebrations, hours to prayer or reflection with your family. Your VisitaIglesia will be more meaningful if you do not spend the time between churches online.
Planning to catch up on your favorite television series during the long weekend leading to Easter? It could be the best sacrifice you can decide on for this season. The app allows us to stream a variety of content anytime, anywhere. Use it to your advantage after Lent. After all, you are able to make time during regular Friday nights and weekends. Watching a series usually makes us curious about historical events, personalities, or concepts. It will then be tempting to go online while watching a series to find out more about these things. We will then be spending more time online instead of staying away, which is one of the goals of our Lenten sacrifice.
Your neighborhood may be more quiet than usual. Many are out of town or are observing silence in honor of Lent. We suggest toning down on your use of music streaming apps as well, especially if you have the habit of playing music loud. Be mindful of others, especially people at home. They will appreciate the silence, especially if they are spending time at home in prayer and reflection.
Stay away from shopping during Lent, especially during days when the malls are closed before Easter. Aside from the fact that might go back to work on Easter Monday with half of your pay gone, you included the avoiding of material things on your Lenten activities, right? If you have already given up on your favorite drink, you can do more! Turn the temptation to shop into a temptation to clean. Go through your clothes and see what you can donate (or even sell online after Easter).
7Your favorite online game.
Stay away from this app during Lent and use it as a time to reset. You may already be a candidate for computer gaming addiction with the excessive number of hours you devote to it. Instead of being glued to your screen, look away. Think of the social events, conversations at home, or hobbies like reading that you have missed because you chose to play this game instead. Some users actually delete the app on their gadgets to strengthen their resolve to give it up for Lent. Not having the app or logging off it also removes the notifications that you receive (and lead you to open the app eventually).