If you’re reading this, there’s probably a good chance that you either have already given up chocolate once before for Lent, or have considered doing so this Lent. Or you might be thinking who am I to tell you what you should or should not give up for Lent. Or you might be wondering what Lent is.
Let me save you the Wikipedia search and tell you what it says: “Lent is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday.” It is a time of fasting and prayer in preparation for Christ’s Resurrection from the dead, celebrated on Easter Sunday. It lasts approximately 40 days, as Christ fasted in the desert for 40 days where he was continuously tempted by Satan, but never once gave in to those temptations.
We are to give up something which isn’t merely a temptation, but that takes our time, energy, and thoughts away from Christ and us living out our Christian lives. If chocolate does all of the above, then by goodness give it up! But I don’t think that’s the case for most. I think chocolate (or sweets in general) was a good starting point for us as kids. We loved it, we wanted it, and it was nearly impossible to say ‘no’ to it. But we never let go of it and it became a “Lenten Tradition.” As we grow in our spiritual lives, our Lenten sacrifices should also grow (whether by quantity or quality–preferably the latter.) Still others use Lent and the chocolate tradition as an excuse to lose weight, but that’s all wrong (losing weight should be about respecting your body and recognizing it as a temple of the Holy Spirit, worthy of being respected through health and fitness.)
So, if not chocolate then what? Well, it depends on the person.
Give up whatever it is that keeps you from growing closer to Christ. For many I could safely assume that to be something like social media or Netflix or both, as they take up too much of our time, too many hours we can’t get back. But for some it may be worrying, stressing, being negative, self-blame or self-destruction. Examine your day today. What is it that you feel enslaved to? What was it that you made time for that wasn’t leading you closer to Christ or strengthening your Christian faith and lifestyle? That is what you should consider leaving behind this Lent.
But simply giving something up is not going to give you a fulfilling Easter season. What will is the combination of sacrifice and increasing prayer and reflection either quantitatively or qualitatively to your daily routine. Maybe it’s praying in the morning, middle of the day, and night, or daily rosary, or what not. Maybe it’s getting involved with more corporal works of mercy, or attending daily mass or confession. Whatever it may be, let it help you grow intimately close to the Lord, for He is waiting for you.
Lent provides us with a beautiful opportunity to suffer along with Christ, and anticipate the Glory of His Resurrection. Don’t let this wonderful season pass you by. Embrace it and know that in your suffering, in your grit, you soon find grace which will lead you to His great Glory.
Dig Deep this Lent, my friends.
May God Bless you and Keep you.