Beyond Giving Up Chocolate: Going Deeper in Lent
Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Waldron, Maureen McCann
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Text from the first four paragraphs of "Beyond Giving Up Chocolate"From the time we were children, our first question for Lent was often, "What are you giving up for Lent?" Giving something up for these 40 days is a custom that, when we were younger, helped us enter into the season with a sense of purpose and a greater awareness.As adults, we might want to consider looking at Lent in a deeper way. We are probably much more settled into our behaviors and patterns of life and sometimes giving up something is where we begin -- and end -- our reflections on Lent. It can be tempting to say "I am giving up chocolate" or beer or even all sweets and all alcohol. But without more reflection, it can become simply a way I show God how how strong I am. It is more about me than any conversation with God.Lent isn't simply about us "giving up" something. The real grace is when we recognize that Lent is a season in which God wants to give us something. God wants to help us transform our lives and make us more free as people -- not just freer with God, but in the way we live our lives and love our families.It is much easier for us to simply choose something to give up -- then we can dismiss Lent! "I am giving up TV for Lent." "I am giving up movies... Snacks... Soda pop." We give it up and exercise our willpower for 40 days to prove to ourselves and to God that we can do it. And at the end of Lent we can return to what we gave up.