By Celina Basaldu, Senior, Social Work
The season of Lent has officially arrived! The biggest questions of “what do I give up?” or “what can I take on?” are answered (hopefully) and now we, as celebrators of Lent, can fully immerse ourselves in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in order to prepare our hearts and minds for the ultimate sacrifice of Our Lord and His glorious Resurrection.
Throughout my years in college, I’ve learned that there is so much more to Lent than just giving up my favorite soft drink or candy. The Church gives us this beautiful opportunity to spend the next 40 days in deep prayer and reflection. Lent calls us to build a closer and deeper relationship with Christ. Some may argue that you just give something up for 40 days and then forget all about it once Easter’s over; everyone will settle back into their old ways and forget about the growth might have occurred. That’s true, it could happen, but it doesn’t have to be that way!
Regarding prayer: I’ve made the decision to say Morning and Night Prayer every day (Sidenote: I highly encourage praying the Liturgy of the Hours. It’s beautiful. And it’s the official daily prayer of the Church!). Through these prayers I begin and end my day in prayer. Oh, what a wonderful way to start and end my day! These last few days, I’ve opened my day, and heart, with His words and closed my day with His peace.
Regarding fasting: Fasting disciplines us. You may surprise yourself with the amount of discipline that remains with you once Lent ends, if you allow it. These last few years of college, I decided to ‘give up my time.’ My sophomore year, I decided to attend Daily Mass every Tuesday and Thursday. My junior year, I added Friday and Communion Service on Monday. And now, as a senior, Daily Mass has become a part of my routine. I allowed the Spirit of Lent to move in me and carry on beyond the holy days of Easter. This year, I still attend Daily Mass, but I’ve taken it a step further, I gave up…my snooze button! Ugh. These last two mornings have been awful, but a good friend reminded me this morning that it’s not something that happens right away. It takes time and it’s something I have to work on. The fact that discipline is a process just illustrates the growth that is occurring. I have now finally learned that I’m not really giving up my time. I’m giving it back to God.
Regarding almsgiving, or works of charity: I’m gonna be honest, you’d think as a social work major my whole life would be about community service, well…not exactly. Like anyone, I can get so caught up in my busy schedule that I forget to stop and think of those who are in need. This Lent, I’ve decided to dedicate my time to serving the most vulnerable, the unborn. Fridays I plan to be sitting outside of Planned Parenthood praying a rosary for lives lost due to abortion. This act of service is not only a physical representation of charity, but it’s a uniting of prayer with the Church Militant in Heaven to end abortion and support the beauty of life.
Now, why I did I tell you all of this? (Besides plugging Liturgy of the Hours, our Daily Mass schedule, or “40 Days for Life”) Am I asking you attend daily Mass every day, stand in front of an abortion clinic, or give up your snooze button? No. But I’m asking you this: what can you do NOW?! God is calling each and every single one of us today, right now, to rid ourselves of every burden and give it up to Him as we remember His Passion. Y’all, the time is now! Live and make sacrifices for Him now. Now, with your brothers and sisters in Christ, and the rewards will be far greater than you can ever imagine and you’ll find them in the arms of God.
”For he says: ‘In an acceptable time-I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” [2 Corinthians 6:2]