Lent is upon us.
With it comes an ancient tradition of sacrificing something, or in some cases, doing something, for that forty-day period that traditionally marks the days before the death of Jesus.
This tradition has deep, symbolic roots in the idea that Christians can somehow particpate in Christ’s suffering and learn in just a small way what that sacrifice means.
The lessons of Lent are numerous, from the disciplining of bodily desires to learning how to draw closer to God.
Even though Lent only lasts forty days, we think its lessons ought to go far beyond that brief time period.
One way to keep those lessons alive throughout the year is to do concrete things to remind ourselves of them.
For instance, if we learn about disciplining our bodies through fasting, perhaps we should fast once a month as a little reminder.
If we learn more about Christ’s sacrifice for us through our Lenten practices, perhaps we should give to charity once a month in an imitation, however small, of that sacrifice.
If we have come to a deeper understanding of our own sinfulness, or of Christ’s love for us, perhaps we should spend two hours a week volunteering at a local homeless shelter or with other people the world often deems worthless.
In any case, the commitment would be something that could draw us closer to God, expand our horizons and teach us to love other people through our actions.
Surely these things, ideas taken from Lent, are worth practicing year round.
They do not have to be large, or daily, but they should be more regular.
When they are, they teach us more about God and about loving others, and in the end, we’ll find that the benefits of Lent spill over through the rest of the year.
Inquiring Minds is the collective opinion of the editorial staff and not necessarily representative of the entire staff. It is written by the managing editor and the editor-in-chief.