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Lent: one tight body in Christ

Emma Terhaar | Sunday, March 3, 2013


Yesterday, I was waiting in the Subway line at LaFun and overheard a girl saying the most outrageous things.  

She was talking to her friend about Lent and calling it a season of penance and preparation, which wasn’t particularly strange.  But then she said something about Jesus spending 40 days in the desert being tempted by Satan and how modern Catholics are mirroring his struggle.  

Who is this crazy girl?  Doesn’t she know anything about the true message of Lent? Jesus just wanted us to be sexy!

Yes, Lent is a time of penance and preparation – penance for all the candy we ate and the winter fat folds we let fall down upon us, preparation for hitting the beaches over Spring Break and eventually summer. More importantly, preparation for the Facebook albums that will document these events. 

This naïve girl reflects what I think might be a large body of ignorance on our campus.  Lent is not some long mental and spiritual journey. Come on, people. Why would that involve sacrificing dessert?

I repeat: God wanted us to be hot. That’s why he asked we give up a specific unhealthy food item or category, curtail some unsightly habit or work out more often.  

The Heavenly Father perfectly designed a holiday season that began just as New Year’s resolutions start to die down, fro-yo machines are being worn out from overuse and girls are shifting from wearing leggings on their lazy days to wearing full-on sweatpants.  

Just as society was getting gross, He forced a season of public penance in an effort to make Catholics and Catholicism a more attractive religion. 

Not only did His plan boost the number of Catholic converts enticed to the religion by the prevalence of washboard abs created by voluntarily dessert-sacrificing people, but He also increased the number of Catholics – overall rise in member attractiveness leads to a higher procreation rate.

Lent is of course much more than that now.  

We kick off the season with a whole week of partying around Mardi Gras, which maximizes opportunities for inter-Catholic courtship.  

This last day before Lent means gathering together and forcing as many pancakes or donuts down our throats as is humanly possible, prepping ourselves for the upcoming extended diet.  

I believe there is a passage in the Bible in which Jesus suggested that before taking any course of action or making an improvement in one’s life, it is necessary to do the complete opposite thing in excess the night before until one gets sick from it.  

During Lent itself, there are weekly challenges cutting out fatty meats and excessive snacking, which tests who the real, hard-core body enthusiasts are.  On these days, non-meat-eaters are rewarded with copious amounts of cheese and bread.  

The cheese and bread are shared joyously amongst male and female Catholics of the mating age.  Some institutions have been known to sponsor special fitness and body awareness weeks for young adult Catholics, using free T-shirts, snacks and fitness classes to spread and reinforce the message of our need to be fit and beautiful to fulfill what Jesus wants for us.

The Lenten season ends with the grand finale at Easter, the ultimate celebration of the sacrifices we’ve all been doing. Celebrants can hunt for someone else’s eggs and frolic about with large rabbit men. 

As we each continue our struggle through the Lenten season, let’s remember: We’re one Body in Christ, so let’s make it a tight body!

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