Of learnings in Lent

Published March 5, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Alex M. Eduque


Ash Wednesday this past week marked the start of the Lenten season for Catholics. For actively practicing ones, here begins the meatless Fridays, and an act of sacrifice to practice for 40 days. More often than not, we tend to define sacrifice as the act of giving up something – whether it be that daily cup of coffee, one meal a day for 40 days, or a vice that is part of our daily routine and regimen. But what if we broaden and shift our perspective a bit, and look at sacrifice from another point of view – have we ever thought about making more of an effort, or giving more of ourselves towards a cause?

It got me thinking: sacrifice may not always be about giving up something. It may also just be as much about channeling our energy towards an act of goodness.

I read a piece on Lent recently by William Ward, and something he said could not have resonated with me more. Lent, he says, “is a time to fast from certain things, and to feast on others.” He then goes on to highlight contrasts, and runs down a list of what we should fast from – the likes of gossip, discontent, hostility, bitterness and negativity – and feast on – time for God, kindness, prayer and uplifting others to name a few. A lot of homilies lately have also been centered around the upcoming elections –  specifically, on Lent, and what it means in relation to our civic duties. And while I will not delve into that, the point I am deriving at is with lent being a time for reflection and tranquility, we need not always give up something material. At the end of the day, it is as much of a sacrifice (maybe even more) to make an effort towards becoming a better person – for ourselves, and for the benefit of the common good as well.

It can be something as simple as making a conscious effort to do a random act of kindness everyday. Perhaps it can be something more sustained with a lasting positive impact like increasing the salaries or giving an extra allowance to deserving employees, donating to a charity of your choice, or helping out with the education of a student who could use some aid. It could be volunteering for a worthwhile endeavor, or advocacy over the weekends of Lent, or even simply making an effort to disengage from gossip centered group chats or conversations.

Instead of simply fasting from social media, you could also choose to make an effort instead to be a positive force in the online world. Maybe it’s time you decide to start praying the rosary everyday, or allocating a time for prayer and novena in your daily life. The list goes on, but what we must keep in mind this Lenten season is to engage in an act that will contribute towards our self-growth and betterment. To be proactive citizens towards contributing to the progress of society, our community, and this world. At the end of the day, the best versions of ourselves benefits the community on a greater scale.

Be mindful, and may your actions lead towards greater purposefulness – in the next 40 days and hopefully, beyond.