Because I have been giving up chocolate each Lent for the past 10 years or so, I need to keep that in mind. It might be a terrible hardship, but I will need to eat up any and all chocolate in this house before the first Wednesday in March. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.
On a serious note, I will not, of course, stuff myself with chocolate. But I’ll eat some of it up, and store the rest for Easter Sunday. On another serious note, of course I will not rise up at 12:01 a.m. on Easter Sunday and pig out on chocolate.
But this ritual I’ve taken to has some benefits. It trains me in self-discipline. That’s one of the purposes of giving something up for Lent. It also keeps me off chocolate for about six weeks. This never hurts anybody’s health, and it’s especially good for mine. Of course, I swap out the chocolate for things like jelly beans but I eat them more sparingly than I do chocolate when it’s out and around in here.
The big thing for me is that Lent gives me a chance to reflect on my faith, its foundation, and my part in it. I think about how we can rely on how Jesus knows what it is to have a body like ours. He was in a family, he worked with his father, he walked dusty roads and hills and mountains. He fished with the working class people, he was tempted. He even feared and prayed to not have to do what he knew he had to do. Then he suffered horribly, and died. There’s nothing he does not understand firsthand, either from his own experience here, or from the experiences of his friends, loved ones, and even from his enemies. There are so many things to learn during Lent.
Lord Jesus, thank you for what you did for us. Thank you for the lessons I can learn from your life and your suffering. And thank you for being there for me - always.