How will you use the gift of Lent?

It’s easy for little kids to have the wrong impression of Lent. It can seem like it’s all about punishment and guilt. When I was a kid, teachers would tell us to give something up as penance for our sins.  Since Jesus could resist temptation while fasting in the desert for forty days I can’t have chocolate. Imagine me as an eight-year-old bookworm who loves the epic tragedy of the story of Jesus, but still doesn’t see the point. I thought:

  • If you don’t have to claim ownership of wrong-doing, why would you?
  • If Jesus loves me he doesn’t want me to make myself sad over something trivial like chocolate. We pray “lead me not into temptation”, right?
  • Authority figures placing seemingly meaningless limits on me offended my strong-will.
  • People are boasting and competing. Which penance is most restrictive? Do you make it all the way through Lent?

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