Having seen What Lent is, I give You some Very Sweet Answers to Questions like ‘What to give up for lent,’ etc. At the age of 67, with More than 40 of them spent in Serious Reflection, You would find my Answers Very Different, and See that They Make Sense!
First of all, Lent is Not about giving up a few Things.
From the Time of our Lord Himself, we know that the Pharisees had ‘Observed the Sabbath’ “Meticulously.” [You will note that I have put the word Meticulously in double inverted commas. That should tell You something! These Pharisees had kept the Sabbath according to ‘their’ rules and standards, which Jesus saw through, had not found them up to the mark, and for which He berated them. But that is another story.]
To continue, besides this regular observation of the Sabbath, the Pharisees had Fasted Much, had given 10% of their Earnings to the Temple, (Calculate that! 10% is a Goodly amount!), and spent much time in studying the Scripture, (again, after their ‘own’ way, of course).
Let us Stay with the Pharisees. In spite of these their way of life, We Know that our Lord was Not Impressed with them. He had chastised them time and again. Matthew allots practically the whole of his 23rd chapter in Condemnation of the Hypocrisy of the Pharisees.
So Holiness or Advancement in Spirituality is Not about Giving up things, Nor Taking up things like Fasts and such!
A very famous retreat centre in India calls for its participants to give up smoking and drinking as practically the steps to be followed in that place. But there was Not Enough of an Emphasis on A ‘Change of Heart’ there. And the results are Not all that they could have been.
Then We have the Famous examples of Giving up Chocolates.
External changes like these can bring about, at most, External changes in their turn, like a little Better health due to giving up smoking, or a Slimmer body due to lesser Carbs.
It is like removing a Glob of dirt from the Wind shield, or Filling up the Tyres, both of which are Useful, by the way, – While the Engine is Smoking! Most probably You would be left standing on the spot in spite of the Wind shield having become clearer, and the Tyres having had their fill.
We have to Address the Root of Problems, and Take Care of Basics first. Giving up a few things for Lent is Not of Much Use!
Only Surface level Preachings on Lent are being presented. Before We go further, We have to see How Repugnant even this sort of Lent is taken to be, at least in some circles.
The goodly people of the South Americas, Pope Francis’ own soil, So dread Lent, that they ‘Top themselves Up Full Well’ before beginning this Religious exercise. As under: A mere glimpse of the ill-famed ‘Carnivals.’
This is a good example of what happens when Attention is Diverted to what to give up for Lent, etc. This sort of mentality seems to create a Fear, as the Carnival evinces. For all that, the Carnival is more than a bit of Debauchery. And it Astonishes me that the so called Leaders of the church have nothing to say about it. As You know, the picture I have given is one of the more Modest ones! Well.
Here are things I say You Need NOT give Up!
Let me put it in another way: Do Not Over Fast. You are Not in a Competition of Fasting. And Do not do it because ‘Jones’ is doing it.
In this regard, an Anecdote from the life of St. Don Bosco. One night the devil came and took the good Priest on a round of their institution. The devil wanted to show him Where-all he was succeeding in gaining his victories. One of the places they visited was the Dining hall. The Saint was astonished, and asked the devil how People could be sinning there. The devil simply said that he invited people either to eat too much or too little. In Both cases they ended up Not being able to do what they were supposed to be doing!
Making my list a short one: You Need Not Give Up Sex! As I have shown earlier, The Real purpose of Lent is to become ‘Other Centric,’ — Concerned, Caring and Loving Human Beings. …You cannot take these my words as License for All-out Orgies of the Flesh. Always remember that All Efforts at Self Control go in Your favour and Your Advancement.
FOR LENT, DO GIVE UP:
APATHY, WASTE, The UNNECESSARY, and LETHARGY.
The One, and thus the Most Important commandment being that We Love, the Greatest Sin is its Opposite: Apathy! Apathy is Mankind’s Greatest Sin! The Human Race – and that Includes our Religious Leaders, – Simply does not Care!
I give You below a piece of ‘Rangoli,’ as it is known in North India, and ‘Kolam’ in the South. Let us call it an Artwork made on the ground using coloured powders.
Below is the House of the Young Girl who made that for us. It is the Thatched house.
But Scant months ago, This is what it had looked like, as in the photograph below. The family, consisting of Five members, had been living in this for more than Six months before it got repaired.
And Below is How Christians of a certain parish (Not that they were too different from Others) celebrated Christmas.
Many say: Why do You care if They want to Spend. But I Know that the Watchman in the church shown here is paid a measly rs. 3,000 a month. On the Other hand, Rs. 2,50,000 might have been spent on electrical lights, flowers, the sound system and crackers, in One night, to ‘celebrate’ the Birth of One who chose to be born on Hay.
IF the Watchman, and Other Staff had been paid Equitable and Living Wages, (they are ‘Church’ staff, after all!), and IF this little girl’s house, and those like hers, had been repaired by these ‘Holy’ Christians, would I not have kept my mouth shut? As it is, Observing these sorts of In-Equalities and Opposites, I have a Pain in my Stomach. And shall We say God Alone Knows What HE is Thinking?
And So, for Lent, Do let us give up