Pamela Poe

The Lenten Season officially begins on Ash Wednesday and runs until Easter Sunday. In this liturgical season, Catholics can give something up or add something to their lives to better their relationship with Jesus.

For Catholics, Lent is a 40 day season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. This year, Lent begins on Wednesday, February 22nd. It is a season of the liturgical year that follows the epiphany season and emphasizes Jesus’ resurrection and how it brought humanity the chance of eternal life.

Lent has commonly been thought of as a time to physically give something up. From chocolate, to soda, to coffee and more, the options are endless. The idea of fasting is set in place to give Catholics time to renew their soul.

Aside from personal fasts, through the Lenten Season, Catholics are encouraged to abstain from consuming meat on Fridays because in the past, it was considered a “luxury” for civilians,

Catholics fast to replicate Jesus’ sacrifice in his 40 day desert journey.
Fasting rules are also applied to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday where Catholics will eat only one large meal and two smaller meals with no snacks in between. Those ages 18-59 and in good health should prioritize fasting on these two significant days. However, if fasting jeopardizes a person and their health, they would be exempt from fasting. Those who are children, pregnant women, adults with mental illnesses, and nursing individuals are exempt from fasting as well.

Throughout Lent, one’s prayer focuses on a request for God’s forgiveness and a wish for his ultimate mercy and love. Did you know that during Lent it is requested that one does not say or sing the word “alleluia”. The word comes from the Hebrew phrase “Hallelu-Ya” meaning “Praise the Lord.” However, during Lent, we avoid saying this phrase as humanity was not yet redeemed as Jesus still roamed the desert at this time in history.

I am sure you have heard of Sunday’s importance in the Catholic Church. It is considered the “Lord’s Day” where Catholics can relax, attend mass, and spend the day with God. Though this is a personal decision, some use Sundays during Lent as a “cheat” day with their promise. In fact the Sunday “cheat day” actually begins on Saturday Evening just after sunset.

While the church does not directly promote “cheat” days during Lent, it does not directly look down upon it either, as Sundays are not actually considered part of Lent.

The Lenten Season officially ends on Holy Thursday, though the Church encourages Catholics to keep up their Lent promises until Easter Sunday in order to be fully cleansed for the Lord.

Many Cathedral Students choose to celebrate the Lenten Season in a variety of ways. Regan Malloy, A Cathedral Catholic Student who celebrates Lent, describes how “In my eyes, Lent is a way to help others and improve yourself while doing this.” When asked her opinion about “giving up” items during Lent, Malloy claims how “I believe it is incredibly important to give something up during Lent because it allows me to grow more from what I have rather than a longing for what I need.” Malloy urges other CCHS Students to participate in Lent to not only better themselves, but their relationship with God as well.

In fact, the Lenten season only takes up less than 11% of one year. Even though, if Catholics prioritize Lent, they will have 89% of their entire year left to do/eat what they gave up, Catholics are still not choosing to observe Lent. Research conducted by “Lifeway Research” illustrates how only 24% of Catholics typically observe Lent, leaving 76% of Catholics lacking newfound faith throughout this season.

When thinking of Lent, one commonly thinks of physically giving something up in their life. When, in fact, one could choose to add to their life during the Lenten season as well. From self-care, to service and more, the options are endless. Cathedral Catholic Student Ana Radilla descubes how “For my Lenten Promise, I am adding journaling to my daily routine to build habits, practice self-love and grow closer to God.”

Like Radilla, this Lent, I am deciding to add to my life. First, I am trying to begin my schoolwork as soon as I get home. Secondly, I am trying to read the Bible daily to make it an essential part of my day by the end of the Lenten Season.

Scientists claim how it takes approximately 66 days to fully build a habit. Adding something to your life during Lent, such as Radilla’s addition of journaling is jumpstarting a habit that can be used to improve your future.

Ultimately, Lent a time to grow closer with God. Whether one decides to give something up in their life or add something to their life, there is no undermining this effort made to dedicate one’s life to Jesus. Through Lent, one can self reflect and truly gain something through fasting. Dons, even though Ash Wednesday has already passed, it is not too late to give something up. Remember that what you give up/ add to your life is between you and God and no one can break that relationship.