The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Lent and repent the Domer way

Gabriela Leskur | Monday, February 11, 2013

It’s that time of year again. Lent is upon us.

You know the drill: It’s time to give something up or start doing something good that you’ve always been meaning to do.

Back in the day, our parents encouraged us to give up chocolate and TV. They encouraged us to take up prayer before bed and chores around the house.

For those 40 days, the majority of little Catholic kids did as their parents asked. We looked longingly over at the cookie jar and tried not to complain when taking out the trash.

Yet, the moment Lent was over, we went back to forgetting to wash the dishes and gorging ourselves on Reese’s when no one was looking.

 Even now as college students, Domers can fall into that same routine.

Sometimes it can be hard to force ourselves to really commit to giving something up or taking something up for Lent.  And once Lent is over, we go back to the same habits.

However, maybe we need to change our perspective.

Beyond preparing ourselves for Jesus’ resurrection and trying to reflect on what that means to us, Lent provides us with the perfect reason to start fresh. It’s a time to look at ourselves objectively to see where we struggle, to see what we take for granted.

Here are just a few suggestions when contemplating your Lenten plans:


Give Up One Guilty Pleasure

            Only get Starbuck’s during Midterms and Finals (if at all). Pass up on the fro-yo. Resist the candy wall in the Huddle. Bid farewell to Ben and Jerry.

            Don’t wait in line for pasta stir-fry. Avoid the tempting smell of the burrito bar. Walk right on past and deny yourself the pleasure of making your own pizza or your own waffle.

            Instead, contemplate the unthinkable – eat a vegetable. Reintroduce yourself to the salad bar. Smuggle a banana from the dining hall. Eat a peanut butter sandwich for a late night snack.


Enrich Your Soul (and your stomach)

            Regardless of what your religion may be, Notre Dame is a center for spiritual discovery. In all the hustle and bustle that is Notre Dame, it’s easy to come up with excuses for not taking time to reconnect with our faith. And yet, there are so many great arenas for prayer and spiritual life across campus.

            So do an extra hour of homework on Saturday. Make time.

Go to the Basilica on Sunday.

Head over to the Iron Sharpens Iron on Thursday night and learn from the rich faith traditions of Christian denominations other than your own.

Go to a dorm mass throughout the week, whether it be Milkshake Mass or Fondue Mass or Chili Mass. Let yourself enjoy a chocolate-covered marshmallow as you meet new people and realize how truly amazing this ND community is.


Cancel Your Netflix

            Running from class to class overwhelmed with the stress of juggling a personal life, 18 credits, and multiple club activities, the little things can be overlooked. A few moments of silence would do any Domer good.

In the hour you’d normally be watching “Mad Men” or “Say Yes to the Dress,” get coffee with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while.

As the weather gets warmer, sit on a park bench on God Quad and crack open a good book.

Make the trek to North Dining Hall for dinner with a PW Purple Weasel or a.

Go to the Grotto and light a candle for someone you know who is struggling. Count your blessings each night, even on those days when you pass out on a desk in the library at 3 am.

Meditate and calm yourself down when you feel overworked.



Do Your Own Thing

            Regardless of what you chose to do for Lent, a little spiritual spring-cleaning can always do some good. 40 days seems like forever, but the truth is, 40 days is just long enough to make a change for the better. And maybe this Lenten season, one of these changes will stick.