The True Meaning of Lent

Rose Homoelle ’19

For many people, Lent means giving up something that you love. But is this really how we should approach Lent? I think that we have made Lent more about material objects than about spirituality. I interviewed a few of my Freshman classmates, Maura and Elizabeth, to hear about Lent from a different point of view.

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Photo Credits smcaustin.org

I asked why people give up objects or things as opposed to doing something. Elizabeth proved a very good point. “It’s easier for people to say that they are going to give up something for a small amount of time because after the 40 days, they can go back to it. When someone actively does something for Lent, they feel obligated to continue to do it after Lent is over.” I absolutely agree.

While giving up an object can be extremely hard, it seems to be more meaningful to change something in your words, actions, or attitude. If you decide that you are going to be nicer to your brother for Lent, after 40 days it will be a habit. It has a long-term effect. These 40 days are a time for you to cleanse your mind, body, and soul so that you can be a better person.

Then I asked what Lent symbolizes to you. Maura’s response was very insightful and relatable. “Lent is a period of time to acknowledge the suffering that Jesus went through. Lent is acknowledging why Jesus is the savior and why it’s one of the most important seasons.” I feel that this hits it right on the dot.

In order to acknowledge Jesus’s suffering, maybe you could help to cease other’s suffering, or even your own. That is the true meaning of Lent. That is what we should be focused on heading into this rejuvenating season.

To sum it all up, giving up an object is hard, but it doesn’t display the true meaning of Lent. So maybe this year, instead of giving something up, try changing something, or doing something. Who knows? You could come out a changed person – changed for the better.

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