Painting by Carl Spitzweg, taken from Wikimedia Commons
Although I am LDS and my religion does not practice Lent the way other western Christian religions do, I believe in the principles it teaches. According to Wikipedia “The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer… through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial… for the annual commemoration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. ”
Before reading that, all I knew was that Lent involved the sacrifice of a personal vice. A Catholic friend of mine gives up coffee for 40 days, a true sacrifice for her. Two or three years ago I gave up chocolate for Lent. This year I decided to do it again, but I wanted to learn more about it.
In addition to my belief that practicing self-denial strengthens character I know that avoiding my chocolate habit will have positive health benefits and will reassure me that I am not addicted or dependent on it.
The 40 day journey is made tolerable in that Sundays are Feast days so the abstinence can be broken. (The 40 days from Ash Wednesday to the Saturday before Easter exclude all Sundays.)
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. I encourage anyone who wants to sacrifice in preparation for Easter celebrations to join me by eliminating your own vice. If not, while some Christians focus on sacrifice during Lent, many others focus on service or finding ways to come closer to Christ.