Thursday, February 26, 2009

Giving Things Up

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent--a time when many Christians choose to give up something they enjoy in order to seek God and grow in holiness. I posted last spring about why this can be such a valuable discipline, but today I found another helpful article that beautifully articulates the blessings of sacrificing for Lent.

David Mills at First Things writes:
We are creatures of ravenous, indiscriminate desire. We want this and we want that, but most of all, We Want.

Hence the value of Lent, which begins today, and of an old discipline that seems, even among Catholics, to be now somewhat neglected: the traditional discipline of giving things up for Lent. Bookish people being as fallen as anyone else, we might take a brief break from the pressing issues and interesting intellectual questions to reflect on the value of this discipline. Giving things up for Lent has, in my experience, two obvious benefits.

The first is that you very quickly find out how much a hold the world has on you. ...The second benefit of giving things up for Lent is that you also find, at the end of Lent, how good are the things God has given you. The things you’ve given up come to you afresh, almost as if you’d never enjoyed them before.

I'd encourage you to think about giving something up for Lent--and also to think about what beneficial practice you could add to focus your mind and heart on the gospel during this season.

(HT: Crunchy Con)


Anonymous said...

This year I added a discipline rather than fast a discipline. I may have to reconsider after reading that outstanding excerpt. thanks for the challenge.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding me of the neccessity of giving up or fasting. It is so worth it when it draws us closer to our Father. I too will be giving up for lent this year.

Zoanna said...

I'm giving up ...on my blog fast.