Just over two years ago, I wrote a rather harsh blog voicing my distaste for Lent. I titled the blog “I’m sorry, but Lent is stupid.”
If you were to search the words “Lent is stupid” into Google … guess what comes up as the top hit.
Around this time of year, my blog always gets a little more hits because of that specific post. Although, I must say, I don’t get that much criticism for it, because if you’re searching “Lent is stupid” to begin with, then you probably agree with most of the things I said.
Lent is a time of repentance where practicing Catholics traditionally abstain from a lifestyle habit that doesn’t particularly benefit their health, such as alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, fast food, sweets, etc. By doing so, it’s a small reminder of the suffering that Jesus Christ endured in the 40 days before his death.
My main complaint two years ago was about the people who observe Lent, and how much they annoy me. Because of social media, I get the idea that people are only doing it just so they can advertise how “self-righteous” they are because they are following a spiritual holiday with the belief that they are making an ultimate sacrifice for the betterment of mankind.
I still stand by that.
It bugs me that people feel the need to make a lifestyle change just because of a date on a calendar. I’m all about self improvement, and ridding oneself of negative habits, but why not do it … because you should do it? Not because of Lent.
During my time in Israel, one of the main things I learned about religion is that it’s not about following it by the book. It’s about relating to it in the way that best suits you. Not everyone has the time or the ability to observe every custom in its totality, whatever the religion is. But if you accommodate it to your own life, and truly believe in what you’re doing, then you can achieve the spiritual meaning of these holidays — like Lent — in one day. Not 40. That’s just excessive. It’s noble to try to challenge yourself for six weeks, but it’s also bordering on self-deprivation.
That being said, the purpose of Lent as a religious observance makes perfect sense to me. Which is to make yourself feel closer to Jesus by better understanding his plight at the end of his life. But that can be done is so many ways without having to undergo a drastic life change.
So again, Lent is not stupid. I repeat: not stupid.
The people who observe Lent by posting about it on Facebook, and deprive themselves of something they enjoy just so they could tell others about it?
Stupid as can be.