As with most things in life, lent is probably something you learned about from your parents. From birth we are brought up to think of lent as a time where we sacrifice something important to us in praise of Jesus, but I believe that lent is much more than that. I feel that we can sum up lent in the three simple words giving, reflecting and acting. But these three words mean a much greater deal than just giving up your favourite chocolate until Easter.
What Lent means to others?
As this special time draws nearer we began to wonder what lent means to others, and in particular young people. Obviously lent is a time of self-sacrifice, but is that really all it is? And do we merely follow on what our parents have told us or do we ever stop to consider what lent really means to us as individuals? To answer these questions, we asked a number of the pupils at Our Lady and St. Patrick’s High School in Dumbarton, UK for their thoughts, and here are their answers.
“To me, lent is a time for helping others,” said one sixth year student. “It’s a time when I think about the lives of others in comparison to my own and I feel that during lent it is even more important that we help other people.” Support can go a long way, and even something as small as putting money in your WEE BOX can make a difference. A first year pupil answered that to them lent is a time during which we remember what it means to be a Christian, and strive to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
“Lent is a time for spreading the word of God and for doing good, whether that be by buying a goat for an Indian family, or organising a Burns’ Supper for the elderly through your school SSVP group”. Lent was also described by a young person as “prayer and fasting” – it is a time for asking God to help those who need it and remembering that others are less fortunate than us by giving up something important to us.
Lent is much more than what we are taught
As children we’re taught about the story of lent and why we sacrifice something as Jesus did, but it seems that as we grow older lent becomes much more than that. We learn that other people need our help, our support and our prayer. We realise that giving something up is great, but taking action is even better. Fundamentally, we learn what it means to be a Christian, and it seems that the young people of today do indeed realise that.
We all remember what our parents taught us when we were younger, but as we mature we have the drive to go deeper than the surface ‘this is what we do for lent’ mantra and really consider what this time means to us. So go on, this Lent remember your Christian duties and lend a hand. It doesn’t take much thought to put some spare change in your WEE BOX, and those few coins could mean much more to someone else than you’d ever imagine. Have a blessed lenten season.