By Ed Moccia, New Jersey Mission Center Director
“Hey, what’d you give up for Lent?” #CatholicClichéoftheWeek
Often when we think of Lent, we immediately think of what to give up. For me in the past, I would often grit my teeth, “suck it up,” and try to “get through Lent” so as to overindulge in whatever I gave up when it was all over. If I gave up eating between meals, I made sure to gorge myself between meals in the Easter Season. If I gave up adding salt to my foods during Lent, I more than made up for it during Easter. So Lent was about what I gave up. It was about me answering the question: Could I really make it 40 days without (insert here your favorite thing to give up)?
But when I really think about it, Lent isn’t about me at all. In fact, it’s not even about how I can love God more by my sacrifices. Lent is all about GOD, and HIS love for me! And if Lent is about any sacrifice, it’s about HIS sacrifice, HIS death on the cross, for me! I’ve come to realize that I can become so egocentric that even Lent becomes about me.
Giving up Me
This year for Lent, I’ve decided to give up me. I’ve decided for Lent to be about God the Father’s love, expressed fully in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross. I’ve decided to give Lent back to God. This Lent, I don’t want to focus on me or on what I’m giving up. In prayer, in meditation, in my conversations, in my thoughts, I want to pray, meditate, talk and think about Him.
And sure, I will still give some things up. But this year, when I hunger for those things that I gave up, I’m committing to allow it to remind me of the cross and how much God loves me. I pray that my small sacrifices will remind me of His great sacrifice.
So what about you?
What will you give up? How about trying to give up you? Think less of yourself. Think of how much GOD loves you. Yes, He died for all of humanity, but much more personally than "all of humanity." He died because He loves you. This Lent, let's give Lent back to God and let it be all about Him.
If someone asks you what you are giving up for Lent, tell them you're giving up yourself, because that's what Jesus did for you.