Students to sacrifice objects and behaviors for Lent


Feature photo by Eléa Gilles.

Ji-Sung Lee

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith Easter Sunday a near three days away, Lent is a season often associated with Catholics and various behaviors and items they may give up.
“The 40 day period of Lent represents the 40 days Jesus spent fasting and praying in the desert to prepare for his public ministry,” Chelsea Schuster, high school youth director for the Newman Center and Sacred Heart parishes said.  “For Catholics, it is a period of purification and preparation to fully celebrate the Easter mystery.”
In the case of sophomore Piper Osman, her sacrifice came in the form of giving up food to help with her focus during the holy season.
“I gave up lunch, not snacks, though, because my church suggested I give up a meal to allow for more time to study the Bible and get closer to God,” Osman said.  “In a school environment, if I put my head down and go to a computer in the media center, I can get a lot of work done, [but] when I’m at home, I’m more tempted to slack off and watch Netflix or go to sleep instead.”
Despite food being a necessity of life, giving up a full meal may seem daunting to most.  But Osman finds it easier than expected.
“Although it seems as if giving up lunch would be really tough, it hasn’t been too bad since I am usually tempted to eat during my classes most of the time anyways, so now I just eat snacks throughout my day and during class and go to the media center to study during lunch,” Osman said.  “I’ve learned that it’s challenging to jump from one way of eating to another while balancing sports, but my body has adjusted well.”
While forfeiting food can be detrimental to high schoolers, especially student athletes like Osman, Schuster explains giving up meals is not uncommon.  Through the religious season, Osman is able to prioritize the various activities in her life.  The process of skipping a meal, getting homework done sooner has even helped her feel better about herself and become more positive.
[quote]“Fasting is a common sacrifice as it is in imitation of Jesus and the Apostles who passed down the tradition to us. It is also a unifying sacrifice,” Schuster said.  “All people can, in some way or another, fast from food. The word Catholic itself means universal and this is something we can all do together regardless of where we are in the world. It is such a comfort and encouragement knowing my brothers and sisters all over the world are fighting the good fight with me and striving for sainthood.”[/quote] Even though Osman stays away from lunch during Lent, a common fasting practice, senior Jack Allen has chosen a different approach in giving something up. Allen’s sacrifice does not come in the form of an object but more of an action.
“I decided to give up complaining, at least out loud because I found myself complaining a lot and thought it was negatively impacting me,” Allen said. “It’s pretty hard. I do the best I can, but sometimes I’ve caught myself or others catch me complaining. I think as long as I’m acknowledging it, though, and making an effort not to, it will be beneficial to me.”
While the commitments both Allen and Osman have chosen to forgo seem like a lot of loss, they can both agree that giving up calories and complaints have their advantages, especially when they’ve been successful with sticking to the plan.
“I’ve done really well, other than eating lunch after a swim competition once because it’s vital to have nutrients to burn for the afternoon session of swimming,” Osman said.  “I haven’t eaten lunch at all during Lent. I’ve allowed snacks to help myself be prepared for afternoon workouts at track. It’s not too hard, and I get a lot of work done during lunch now, so I have more time at night to relax and sleep.”
To Busted Halo author Neela Kale, Lent is a way of realizing the negativity in one’s life and turning that energy into something more positive or towards a goal.
“An experience of want, however temporary, can help us to appreciate the true abundance in our lives,” Kale said.  “A small positive change can have a big impact that lasts beyond the 40 days of Lent.”
In Allen’s case, this Catholic holiday has taught him a lesson that he’ll continue to remember each time a complaint escapes him.
“Its taught me to be more appreciative of all the things I’ve been blessed with in my life,” Allen said.  “[It’s also taught me] just to be a more positive person overall.”
Did you give up anything for Lent? Let us know in the comments below.