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On Lent and Britney’s sons

Marcela Berrios | Sunday, April 1, 2007

Lent starts today, and that’s fantastic. Lent marks the end of the ordinary time and sets the stage for Holy Week. Lent reminds us of Christ’s ability to resist temptation in the desert. Lent encourages us to follow His lead and be resolute in our faith and our commitment to righteousness. Lent is important. Lent is sublime. Lent is my great failure as a Catholic.

Yes, my friends and readers, I admit in public in my 21 years on this planet I have never given up anything for Lent – and what’s even worse, I’m not freaking out about it.

Maybe I’m just telling myself what I want to hear, but I think I really do believe there have to be better ways to prove my devotion than renouncing candy, booze or Facebook.

As a mere formality, though, every year I have vowed to give something up only to break my promise within the first week. One year it was Coke, another one it was anything that had chocolate in it and my freshman year here it was Facebook – and keep in mind this was Facebook before you could create albums. If I tried that little stunt today, I doubt I would make it through Ash Wednesday Mass before checking who’s on my “Recently Updated” profiles list.

A friend who shall remained anonymous tried giving up sex with her boyfriend one year – but they indulged on Sundays since technically they’re not included in the 40-day count. They really indulged on Sundays. It was everything but sublime.

At any rate, I don’t think I’ve learned much from my attempts to give up anything, and my faith certainly didn’t grow from hearing my friend’s stories every Monday. I really don’t see how I will become a better Catholic these days if one day I do succeed in renouncing sundaes for 960 non-consecutive hours during the first third of 2007.

The closest I came was the year I tried giving up on chocolate bars – although not chocolate cookies or chocolate cake or hot chocolate. But then I realized my new motivation to stay away from the candy was the realization that I was losing weight, so I broke my promise because I didn’t think it was true to the Lenten purpose anymore anyway – and because I went to the movies and I felt like eating some Reese’s instead of popcorn.

Call me weak if you want. Call me cynical even, because I do think Christ has more important things to deal with than my snack selection. There are wars raging and hungry children and neglected old people and a bald Britney Spears in this world – and I think our mission as Catholics is to help them. So let me just throw this out there. This Lenten season, do something nice for someone, and if it’s somebody you don’t like, even better. That’s way more Christian than treating sweets and Facebook like they’re the anti-Christ. Ask the ugly girl out to the SYR or look into adopting the Spears-Federline boys. Spread the love – and if the Notre Dame ways are your ways – do it with a calorie-packed ice cream social after quarter dogs. That’s what good old Catholic Jesus would do, right?