The anonymous tweeter for @Catholicgrlprob wrote Sunday “I’m going to write a diet book, the Catholic Diet. Step 1: Lent. Step 2: Repeat next year.” For many Catholics, the Lenten holiday is synonymous with New Year’s Resolutions: give up candy, get in shape, and help others. Whether people are giving something up, taking something on or doing both, for forty days people find the motivation to make a sacrifice.
“Do you understand how hard it is to give up Five Guys for forty days?” Brian Rodgers, a student at the University of Notre Dame, said Wednesday. “I bought a bunch of junk food from the grocery store last night to get my fix for the long holiday.”
Non-Catholics are not exempt from the holiday. Amanda Garza, a Protestant peer of Rodgers, said “I was only considering giving up something because I want to continue to lose weight. If someone really wanted to give something up to test their strength and their devotion to God, they would do it at any other time and not tell anyone about it.”
Garza believes that the holiday has become all for show. “You have other people supporting you in their sacrifices,” she said. “It makes it too easy.”
While Garza’s participation is driven by non-faith-based motivations, Rodgers is more focused on improving his faith life. “Lent is all about sacrifice,” he said. For him, the daily sacrifice he makes by avoiding junk food will remind him of the sacrifices Jesus made in the desert. Though he admitted to splurging during Mardi Gras, today he proudly wears the ashes as a symbol of his new journey.
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