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A Year-long Lent?

News St Martin – Talking Points

Sunday 7 April 2013

So, Lent is over again for another year.  For many, it’s a relief as chocolate can now be chomped, alcohol is allowed, desserts will be devoured and coffee consumed.

It’s probably my spiritual ill-discipline but abstinence has been a mixed experience for me in the past, although I remember well the year I gave up coffee and took to my bed for the first Friday in Lent with appalling nausea.  

This year, my Lent was not about giving up but rather taking on.  It felt a truly 21st century form of observance with a daily suggestion coming to my phone through Twitter.  This initiative from Church House Publishing was also available in booklet form as “Love life, live Lent”.  Suggestions such as:

Say sorry: Think about something you have done wrong and say sorry for it.
Share more: Make some cakes and share them with your friends.
Think more positively: Make a list of the good things in your life and thank God for them.
Slow down: Take longer over breakfast.
Live more simply: Find a thing you don’t use and give it away.
Be more encouraging: Find ways to encourage people around you.
Remember more: Learn the words of something by heart.

This Lenten discipline is not one that will let me ignore it until Ash Wednesday 2014.  The challenge to “be the change you want to see” will stick with me – and possibly even be unwelcome at times!

As Pope Francis reminded us recently: “Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary use words.”  The context of being the change you want to see is an excellent one in which to give the reason for the Easter hope that is within us.

Jeff Claxton