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Lent: A Personal Reflection

Ryan McIntyre '17, Contributor

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One of the biggest challenges of Lent is moving past personal shortcomings. For too many years, I have given myself easy tasks of abstinence to complete, knowing that my forty days will be a breeze. Driven by a fear of failure, I have set very attainable goals. I have given up all of the traditional items, such as video games, candy, and soda. I would feel great for doing something that I should be doing already: indulging with moderation.

To liken these “sacrifices” to Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice is to tell Jesus that we take His compassion for granted—that it is not something that we needed, but rather something He just had to do. Dying for the sins of others is not natural. It is divine. Giving up luxuries that ultimately harm the human body is natural. Subjecting the human frame to torture, abuse, and death by suffocation is a far greater sacrifice than anything worldly. While we cannot feasibly attain this level of selfless giving, we should strive to hold ourselves to higher standards in our Lenten sacrifices.

I challenge you, my fellow Christians, to sacrifice something that you know you will fail at. Lent is not about being perfect; that is God’s job. Even Jesus stumbled while lugging His cross to the hilltop. As Ms. Farrell eloquently stated on Ash Wednesday, “it is okay to fail, but you have to learn humility and have the courage to start all over again.” For me, Lent is about realizing that my life is bigger than just my world and should be dedicated to God’s will.

Most recently in the CCD class that I teach, we discussed the basic structure of Lent and its purpose. Understandably, I had a difficult time articulating the importance of “choosing to fail” to my second graders. They seemed too caught up in the idea of mimicking Jesus’s success in His sacrifice to notice His failings.

For this Lenten season, besides my goal to prune time-wasting activities, I have pledged to say yes to opportunities that I would usually avoid. I have found that my time has become better spent on human interactions with fellow classmates, causing more joy in my life. Instead of depriving myself of a fleeting pleasure like chocolate, I have infused my life with the more permanent joy of the presence of others. Of course, I have had moments of weakness where I have failed brilliantly. I have strayed from my goal and reverted to old tendencies. Instead of wallowing in self guilt, however, I prefer to find excitement in the prospect of starting from scratch. It’s rejuvenating. It’s human. It’s Lent.

 

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Lent: A Personal Reflection