Are You Supposed To Give Things Up For Lent? The Catholic Church Says No
We are almost a week into the Lenten season and a lot of people have probably asked you what you are giving up for Lent. When I was growing up, it was a big deal to give up candy or Coke, then as I got older giving up things like cussing got to be the thing to give up.
Recently the Catholic Church has changed its stance on Lenten sacrifice and said that giving things up doesn't do Lent justice. It's not supposed to be 40 days and nights of depriving yourself, but rather the Lenten season is supposed to be a time of reflection and resetting your relationship with God.
1. Don’t remain indifferent - The Church says there is a temptation in this world to be indifferent to our neighbor and ignore their needs. In this time of COVID it's tougher to help people out face-to-face, but you could always check on your neighbors from a safe distance and offer to go to the grocery store for an elderly relative who can't easily do that themselves.
2. Pray - During Lent, the Church says you might 'give up' some of your precious time to pray a little more than usual. The Church says saying a daily rosary or giving God 15 minutes of real reflection on His role in your life could bring your heart closer to God.
3. Fasting - You're not supposed to use Lenten fasting to restart your New Year's diet. The Church says rather, you should fast and donate the money from skipping lunch to a charity to help others who might be in need.
4. Help the Poor - The Church says just giving money to a charity isn't the only thing you could do to help the disadvantaged. You could donate your time to Legal Aid if you are a lawyer or donate your time to an organization that sees people without insurance or access to medical care if you're a doctor.
5. Evangelize - The Church says Lent is the perfect time to spread the good news of the Lord and helping others see the joy it brings to you and helping them see that they could also get comfort and peace from the Word of the Lord.
The Church doesn't expect you to do all of these things, but says if you can do at least a couple during the Lenten season instead of giving up chocolate or alcohol you'll be doing what you should to observe the Lenten season.