Lenten Promises

ashAsh Wednesday is here. Sure, most people think of today as one or more of the following:

  • people get that cross on their forehead made of burnt palm
  • start of the Easter season
  • start of the Lenten Season
  • no meat of Fridays

In actuality, it begins a 40 day period of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. It mirrors the time that Jesus Christ spent in the desert, fasting and reflecting, being tempted by sin, Satan to be more precise. As a child, we are told that during this period, we should give something up. My childhood priest would pick a different class every year to watch over his stash of bubble gum. As I entered middle school, I began giving up things I thought would help me lose weight, like soda and chips. In more recent years, I’ve gotten my dad to participate. While I still can’t get him to stop smoking, he does give up his favorite drink of cherry brandy.

Side Note: You’ve mastered giving up cherry brandy! Pick something more challenging!!!

Within the past couple years, my view of Lent has changed. A few years ago, after my mom got clean from a prescription drug addiction, I talked to my priest and asked if my Lenten Promise had to mean I would be giving something up… If I could try to improve my relationship with my mother, instead. That’s when I began to see the true meaning of a Lenten Promise. I really liked how Father put it tonight at mass, “Hey, we’re all sinners! But that does not mean we are to be ruled by sin.” Father Hurley’s homily, as always, made me examine my life.

So here’s my conclusion on Lent:

This is the time we not only repent, but also “refocus” our attention, as Father put it. Lenten Promises are not about giving something up. It’s a time we focus on on how we can live more like Christ, how we can live in a way that reflects God and his message. (But if you ask me, we should be doing this self-examination thing way ,ore often than just Lent.)

This years Lenten Promise:

This year, my goal is to refrain from self injurious behavior. In this term, I include binge eating, purging, and cutting. God would not want me to hurt myself. God created us in His image. When I hurt myself, I’m really hurting God.

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