I Give Up!

It’s Lent and Catholics are expected time to ‘give up’ something. In years past I believed that by  ‘giving up’ or ‘doing without’ I was able to prove my mettle. I could wear it like a badge of honor – “Look at me – I’m stoic.” “I must be holy and worthy because I gave up eating chocolate or drinking alcohol, or stopped using curse words (a personal favorite) for forty days!” But didn’t that miss the point? Could I continue to be a jerk and give up candy and God would still be pleased?

I don’t mean to trivialize something that millions hold so dear and I also know that many people choose to make Lenten sacrifices to honor the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us. But for me at times it all seems so silly – so superficial.

“When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.” Matthew 6:17-18

This year, “I give up!” I will let go of my need to ‘let go’.  Instead I will make a concerted effort to ‘do something’. A few years ago a friend sent this to me. It’s not necessarily a Lenten ‘to do list’ but it could be. I’m going to give it a try:

This Year

Mend a quarrel ~ Seek out a forgotten friend

Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust

Write a love letter ~ Share some treasure

Encourage youth ~ Appreciate one another

Manifest your loyalty in word and deed

Keep a promise ~ Find the time

Forgo a grudge ~ Forgive an enemy

Listen. Listen. Listen. ~ Apologize if you are wrong

Give a soft answer ~ Try to understand

Gladden the heart of a child

Examine your demands on others

Think first of someone else ~ Be kind; be gentle

Laugh a little ~ Laugh a little more

Deserve confidence ~ Flout envy

Take up arms against malice ~ Decry complacency

Express your gratitude ~ Welcome a stranger

Take pleasure in the beauty of the earth

Speak your love ~ Speak it again

Speak it once again



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