Just last Wednesday most Irish Catholics made a 40 day sacrificial commitment in honor of the Lenten Season. If your sacrifice involved a sugary snack such as soda, coffee, candy or “___fill in the blank___” sweet snack, you might be experiencing sugar withdrawals by now.
Any sacrifice made in the name of this season is admirable, but have you ever thought of doing more of something in addition to sacrificing a particular food indulgence?
This year consider making changes to your heart and not only your body. A season marked by sacrifice is an opportunity to additionally commit to a happier and healthier way of being. The remaining days of Lent present ample time to do more for yourself and others around you. Listed below are a handful of thoughts and ideas for your consideration.
1. Commit to more positive behavior — Make a concerted effort to smile more, judge less and see your glass as half full instead of half empty.
2. Take time to listen – – This skill has become increasingly difficult with the media driven world we’re so immersed in. In-person conversations often consist of one person preparing their rebuttal or response long before the other person finishes their vocalized thoughts. An open ear can lead to more fulfilling conversations and it will be more helpful to someone who needs your honest feedback.
3. Spend more time with those you hold dear – – When you’re with a friend or family member take out your calendar/calendar in your phone and pencil in a date that you’ll meet next. We easily get into the habit of saying, ” see you soon” without attaching a set date to that future meeting.
4. Volunteer your time – – Many volunteer opportunities have been tailored to accommodate a variety of lifestyles. Visit this website to learn about opportunities in your community and even virtual opportunities.
If what you’ve given up this season somewhat resembles the little graphic above, you’re probably looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day. The day we honor our patron saint is also the one day the Irish are allowed to take a break from Lent. What’s so great about making a dedication to giving more this season is that you’ll feel less guilty the day following your day of grace with St. Patrick’s Day and it might prompt you to consider such behaviors year-round.
Each Lenten Season provides another opportunity for Irish Catholics to gain a closer relationship with God. A more meaningful sacrifice in lieu of or in addition to a sugar loaded foe will be more fulfilling and more in line with the meaning of this season. Bring up this idea at your next Bible study or ask your spouse or friend to give more with you this season. Partnering up with others to keep each other accountable also helps number three and mutual encouragement is always helpful.
For those who keep up with Pope Francis, check out this article to read about his suggestions for this season.