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Three Reasons Why Giving Something Up for Lent is Still a Good Idea

[caption id="attachment_1644" align="alignright" width="150"] Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP[/caption] For years and years, the common practice for Lent was giving up or fasting from something that you liked – coffee, smoking, chocolate. In recent years, the emphasis has been more on doing something positive like volunteering at a soup kitchen. It’s a real bonus if you can do a twofer like giving up some sleep in the morning to attend Mass. We are now in the third week of Lent and I suggest it’s not to late to give something up and this is why you should. Giving up something that you really like such as chocolate or coffee is tough especially if you depend on it each day.  You are constantly reminded of your desire for it.  When this happens, channel your thoughts to people have nothing to eat because of famine or war.  Consider the children in Syria, Yemen, or Somalia. When you are tempted to eat or do what you gave up, offer a prayer for them. It’s not unusual to slip and break our fast but it’s also possible to get right back on tract and continue.  It’s like when you fall off a bike. You should get up, dust yourself off, and keep riding.  When we break our fasting and then start up again we are practicing a skill of persistence. Some sins like gossiping can be difficult to stop.  But if we practice persistence, we can break those pesky habits. It’s a reminder that God forgives us when we sin but wants us to keep working at doing good. “Your sins are forgiven. Go, and sin no more.” Finally, we really can use our Lenten fasts for our own good.  Loving and caring for our bodies recognize that God created something ‘very good’.  For a long time, the common understanding was that one could break a habit in 21 days but more recent research suggests its around 66 days. With 26 more days until Easter, there’s time to get a good start on caring for yourself a little more. So, while building new more positive habits by doing good is an excellent Lenten practice, it’s also a positive to give up something. It can remind us of others who are suffering, build the strength to continue when we have fallen, and improve our health. Keep fasting!  

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