What Are You Giving Up For Lent?

Lent (Photo credit: Fr. Stephen, MSC)

I don’t believe in giving anything up for Lent.  Or any other day for that matter.  Well unless you or someone else can convince me otherwise. My mom was telling me in a proud voice that she gave up eating meat for the Lenten period.  She is Catholic.  I said to her,  “Mom, it’s really not what you eat or don’t eat for Lent.

God sent his Son to die for us in the ultimate sacrifice.  There’s nothing you or I could give up or sacrifice that could begin to equal this.  In my opinion, God didn’t do this for us to pay him back by giving up the stuff we enjoy, even temporarily.  He wants our hearts, not our food.  I think that being good people and helping others is what he wants from us”. That’s what I said to her but she was not deterred.  I could be wrong but it’s the way I see it.

I seriously can’t see how giving up something could trump say, helping the poor.  How about for Lent, praying more earnestly?  Or, adding praying for your friends and family?  Sounds more effective to me than not eating meat.  (I am not in any way trying to belittle or question any religion and their practices.  If you subscribe to this practice, good for you. As they say, ‘to each his own’). Yesterday, my mom ate meat.  The temptation was too much I guess…Oh and for the couple of weeks she didn’t eat meat, I didn’t see any changes in her. Love you mama! Meat eater or not. Just my take.

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7 thoughts on “What Are You Giving Up For Lent?

  1. Thanks for linking to my post at Contemplative Homeschool. The traditional Catholic practices of Lent are actually threefold: fasting, almsgiving (helping the poor), and prayer. You’re right that giving something up in and of itself can’t make you holier. For a lot of us, that was the main focus of Lent in our childhoods and we haven’t outgrown it. On the other hand, fasting is encouraged even in the New Testament. Through fasting, we are supposed to learn to trust God more, according to the example of Jesus in the desert. We learn to place God above all material things. We make more room in our hearts for God by removing things that have had too much control over our thoughts and time. Then we should fill our minds and our time with prayer and service instead. We can give the money we save to the poor. If we see giving something up as an end in itself, we’ve missed the point.

  2. Thanks for the post – you’re certainly not alone in your questions. There have been years I don’t give anything up, and others where I really put a lot of thought into it. Sometimes I commit to praying more. Other times, it’s simply sticking to something as simple as meatless Fridays. Does God really care if we eat meat on a Friday? Perhaps not, though it is probably better for the environment. But I find it helps to exercise a greater level of self-control that can then be applied to other areas of life.

    My prayers to you and your mother for a reflective Lenten season!

  3. I basically agree with you and I don’t give up anything during the Lenton season. It all depends on what you were taught growing up and what you believe in as an adult. My husband was raised Catholic and he has an entirely different view than I do. My opinion – we are supposed to focus our thoughts and hearts on Godly things and if giving something up will help remind us, then we are doing it for the right reason.

    1. Totally! It’s all about focus and where we are mentally. When I was in the Catholic faith, I gave up eating meat during Lent but the reasoning was lost on me. Thanks for your comments.

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