Skip to comments.Debate: Is giving up alcohol, chocolate or biscuits the best way of marking Lent?
Posted on 02/07/2013 9:58:27 AM PST by Alex Murphy
In the paper this week we asked well-known Catholics what they plan to do for Lent. Frank Cottrell Boyce, writer of the Olympic opening ceremony, is giving up tea and coffee; Bishop Alan Hopes will give up bread; and Stuart Reid will stop reading blogs that make him angry. Ann Widdecombe is abstaining from every kind of drink except water. Sister Wendy Beckett, however, wont be giving up anything. During Lent I do nothing extra, she says. After all, it is surely a time less for giving up and more for looking up: up to Jesus on the Cross.
Does she have a point does giving things up merely distract from what is important? Can it turn into a health drive, or a way of losing weight, rather than helping us prepare for Holy Week and Easter? Would it be better, perhaps, to go to Mass more, or spend time reading great spiritual works?
On the other hand, many saints and Church Fathers attest to the spiritual effectiveness of penance. It keeps our focus on God; it is reparation for our sins and the sins of the world.
So, should Lent be about giving things up? Or is that a distraction?
“that your fasting may not be seen by others”.
Starving and not showing it is quite different from whining about giving up what you should anyway.
Thanks a lot. You're fifty years too late for me to use that argument on my parents. Oh well...probably wouldn't have done a lot of good anyway. My parents were notoriously skeptical of any excuse by a kid for any reason.
You should give that up . . for the Lent season anyway.
Hey! another excuse I could have used on my parents fifty years ago. Now if they can just invent a time machine.
Lent is another vestigal leftover from pagan rituals that should be discontinued.
Don’t worry no flaming...that is certainly not christian, especially when discussing the death and resurrection of Christ.
lent is a period of 40 days to contemplate the sacrifice of Christ on the cross in preparation for Easter. Fridays are particularly important because this is the day Christ died and fasting and prayer are ways to remember His sacrifice for humanity. Special emphasis is also in penance and recognizing that all of our sins have been paid for by Christ’s blood.
God’s desire to have us walk with him on HIs way to the cross can be seen biblically in the garden of Gethsemane when Christ chastises his apostles who fall asleep despite his agony.
There is no mandate (with the exception of meat on Fridays and Ash Wednesday) from the catholic church that one “gives up” anything. It is a suggestion as a way to draw closer to Christ preceding easter. Daily prayer and reflection can be more meaningful than giving up chocolate or alcohol for instance. Incidentally the reason why meat was chosen is because it is a symbol of wealth and status in the world...it is not so much the “meat” itself but the idea of sacrifice. Substituting a lobster dinner for a hamburger for instance would not be in keeping with the spirit of the sacrifice.
Certainly being a practicing catholic is a free will choice, and many people can and do disagree with the dogma of Rome. There are however sound theological reasons why the Catholic Church celebrates the liturgical seasons in specific manners.
I think you have to do a serious fast, as Orthodox Christians do, or as the Muslims do, for it to get through to you and make a difference. Speaking for myself and my hard head and hard heart. Giving up one or two luxuries doesn’t mean much
Look here for the Orthodox fast:
No dairy, no meat, no eggs, no fish with backbones, no wine or oil...
First five days of Lent, two meals only, on Wednesday evening and on Friday, although “Few laymen keep these rules in their fullness.”
And you could still game the system - grilled lobster and scallops with Pernod, an arugula and avocado salad, flown-in raspberries for desert...
I try to cook simply and humbly and without luxury during Lent, although the definition of luxury is debatable. What strange times we live in, when it is so easy to obtain high calorie sweets and fats, and one can actually be self-indulgent with vegetables - fresh sugar snap peas and red peppers - no flabby turnips and sauerkraut to choke down night after night and be thankful you haven’t run out yet.
IN ‘98 my wife gave up sex (maybe just with me) divorce final two weeks ago. Freeper chicks I’m available
This Roman Catholic is giving up Lent for Lent. I don’t believe in dietary fanaticism. I don’t think God cares what we eat.With all the evil in the world, we should use Lent as a time to counter it in every way we can.
This is not an appropriate means of determining good doctrine. Cyclotic is right, here...Lent & such is simply not in the Book.
If we look at those prescribed behaviors which are noted after the cross (when we Gentiles were grafted in), there are no such ceremonies/traditions/rituals encouraged by the Apostles. Even the so-called Lord's Supper is simply a remembrance celebration without any "transubstantiation".
Perhaps the greatest truth a believer can lay hold of is that for all people, everywhere the Great High Priest (according to the order of Melchizadek - non-Jewish, pre-Mosaic Law) has now entered the Holiest Place in existence (Heaven) bearing the offering of His blood & body, shed & broken for the elect, and this done once for all time.
The Father has accepted this sacrifice as permanent payment for the chosen and has pronounced them sanctified, holy because they are found in the Son. They bear nothing in their own hands, but come clothed in the holiness of Jesus, Who has called us His beloved and He sat down at the right hand of the Father.
Every form of safety, security, salvation is bound up in what He has done and is doing this very moment as He makes perpetual intercession on our behalf. The Holy Spirit is pouring grace upon the elect as He indwells the adopted children of Yahweh. And He, with groanings too deep for words, tells the Father everything within our soul.
If we would focus on holding these truths in our hearts & minds, we would find no need for human oriented rituals.
I found that when you pray for someone, you usually end up liking them much more.
Years ago, I had a boss who, along with others, smoked in the office. At that time I had been a former smoker for c. 10 years. Of course his smoking drove me crazy but I had to work with the guy. A minister suggested that everytime I saw my boss smoking, I bless him.
So, I did, every time I heard him flick his bic. In just a couple of weeks, I could stand right next to his desk while the smoke blew up in my face from his ash tray and only think kind, generous thoughts about the smoker. Honestly.
Follow up to #31.
Even years later, he was the only smoker I could stand to be around.
I caught on when I was around 20 and I gave up going to Church.
That said, I am a spiritual person. I just don't think "organized religion" has anything to do with faith. In fact, I would say it gets in the way..
As for Muslims and Ramadan, it’s not all that difficult to fast from sun up to sundown for a month; just look at what college students on a budget do all the time, and for longer periods. It’s especially not difficult to fast during the daytime hours when you have feasts during each of the night times, which is how some Muslims I know have told me they live during Ramadan. I was told is was like a party in the evening hours. So I have never understood their notion of “sacrificing”.
The same goes for giving up something during Lent. If you fast from something during the 40 days, but go overboard as soon as the time’s up, what have you gained? If you intend to make a better habit about something, just be more mindful of it.
I hope you find the practice of prayerful fasting and self-denial to be edifying and uplifting, and a path to closer communion with Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Origin Of Lent
I think I WON'T be asking that (self-appointed, self-anointed, self-so-called) "Bible teacher" anything ...
unless, of course, I want to laugh at stupidity. And his stupidity is more tragic than funny.
You can also do good works so I quit the giving up beer and wine thing and went with good works. I think its definitely a better way to go.
While the concept of self-denial is sound, making it a set annual ritual is not what we see in the N.T. church, being contrary in principle to being led by the Spirit in obeying His word.
But here are a few stats:
General Involvement in Parish and Religious Activities other than Mass (2008)
Four percent of Catholics describe themselves as “very” involved in parish or religious activities other than attending Mass.
Differences by Generation [regarding the above]
Among those attending Mass at least once a month, Millennial Generation (40 percent)
and Post-Vatican II Generation Catholics (34 percent) are more likely than older Catholics to say they are at least “somewhat” involved in parish life.
Do you abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent? 60%
Do you typically receive ashes at Ash Wednesday services? 45%
Besides giving something up, do you do anything positive, like giving additional money to the needy or trying to be a better person, during Lent? 44%
Besides meat on Fridays, do you give up or abstain from anything else during Lent? 38%
Note: Percentages do not sum to 100 because multiple responses were allowed.
Slightly less than half (45 percent) typically receive ashes at Ash Wednesday services.
A similar proportion try to something positive (as opposed to giving something up) during Lent.
Slightly fewer than four-tenths give up something for Lent (other than abstaining from meat on Fridays).
Midwest Catholics (65 percent) are the most likely to say they abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent and those in the West are the least likely to do this (55 percent).