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The La Salle Falconer

The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

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My Experience With Lent and Why It’s Important to Me

Olivia Hungerford
During Lent, we try to give greater thanks to Jesus for suffering for our sins and giving us salvation.

As the Lenten season is underway, we are reminded of why it is important.

Lent is a 40-day period during which Catholics remember the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. It is meant to be a time to reflect and remember Jesus and how he suffered for our sins. 40 days used to seem like too long of a time for me, but now it feels right.

This time is used mainly to open our hearts to God and grow to be better people. During Lent, we can work on ourselves in many ways, such as giving up things that are challenging for us to give up, or improving habits and making better choices. We can also take part in almsgiving where you donate time, money and service to others, and Good Friday where we reflect on Jesus’ crucifixion through prayer and the stations of the cross.

There is no one way to participate in this season — it is up to each individual person.

I was raised in a Catholic family, and when I was younger I thought Lent was a time to give up bad habits or something silly, like giving up broccoli because I hated it so much. As I grew older, I realized this time isn’t about giving things up that are easy, it is about growing as people and challenging ourselves to give things up that are hard for us.

Though a few years ago I did not understand why some people didn’t give things up for Lent — but I understand it now.

I now think of Lent as a time to bear our own cross as Jesus did. It’s a time to challenge ourselves and grow deeper in connection with God and ourselves. For example, Lent is not about diets and losing weight. It can be if you want it to, but that is not the reason for it. Rather, Lent is a time for deep reflection on Jesus and how he suffered for us. 

This year, I am working on decreasing negative self-talk, and although negative self-talk is not something I’m fond of, it is hard to stop doing. I realized how badly I would talk about myself and I decided to change that, because God created me in his own image and likeness. 

Negative self-talk is a really bad habit I have had. Working on this has been difficult, but I have noticed a positive impact on my confidence and self esteem.

If you don’t want to give something up for Lent, that’s alright too. In previous years, I have chosen to not give up anything for Lent due to choosing something different other than fasting. I instead chose to work on a specific habit or trait that would help me grow. 

You can challenge yourself by making new goals or just spending more time on reflection. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what you do for Lent, as long as it means something to you, for it is a thing between you and God that you don’t have to share with others.

Even if you are not Christian, Catholic, or religious at all, you are invited to participate in Lent, and I strongly believe you don’t have to be Catholic to do so.

When I went to public school in Washington, I noticed how barely anyone else I knew was taking part in Lent. Those who did participate didn’t tend to be religious, they just wanted to use it as a time to get out of bad habits. 

I didn’t understand why practically no one was participating in Lent like my family was, but now that I am older I see that it was because in Washington, I was not at a school that was built on a foundation of religion.

When I moved to Oregon, I went to a private Catholic school. I noticed that many of the other students and staff were participating in Lent, and I took comfort in knowing that traditions I had held close to my heart weren’t weird or out of the ordinary.

Lent is a special time for me to grow closer to my spirituality, and it isn’t for everyone. 

I choose to participate in Lent every year because it is important to me as a Catholic and as a person. I love my faith and Lent helps me feel more connected and secure in my spirituality.

That being said, Lent is a journey, whether you choose to think of it spiritually or not — which means anyone has the choice to participate in it.

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