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Lenten sacrifice should be a true test

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For many Christian religions, we are now in our second week of observance of the season of Lent — a 40-day period of prayer, fast, penance and good works leading up to the feast of Easter.

As a cradle Catholic, Lent, along with all its customs, is implanted in our DNA. For instance, unlike some other faith traditions, we fast and abstain from meat on all Lenten Fridays. But I have to confess, I love fish so while I dutifully abstain, it’s no real sacrifice for me. I know I’m following the letter of the law, but many years ago, I admitted to myself that I probably wasn’t following the spirit.

So as Lent approaches every year, I ponder what will be a true sacrifice for me. What good works will I do or what will I give up that makes me sit up and notice? Now I’m not going to share what I decided to do for Lent this year — I believe a Lenten sacrifice should be kept to oneself as much as possible as an exercise in humility. What I will share is a past sacrifice.

One year not too long ago, I decided, in addition to not eating meat on Fridays, I would give it up throughout the entire six weeks of Lent, Sundays included. Week one — no problem! Week two — enjoying fish and meatless pasta. Week three — time to bring out the tuna. Week four — the eggs and cheese are beginning to stick in my throat. Week five — here comes the peanut butter. Week six — this better be over soon, my dog’s leg is starting to look tasty. It was tough but I did it, and, despite some whining, it proved to be a true test of sacrifice.

Here are a few things your neighbors are doing in observance of Lent this year.

Tami Bobak, Lowell: I decided to up my time on the treadmill to an hour every other day, and instead of watching television or listening to music, I pray and meditate. I’ve lost a couple of pounds in the last week but it’s also had a calming effect. I might try to continue after Lent is over.

Greg Meyer, Crown Point: My whole office gave up cussing. We have this big jar and when one of us slips, he or she must put in a dollar. After Easter, we’ll total it up and donate it to a charity. The jar is filling up fast. The way we’re going, it should be a fairly sizable donation.

Sophie Pawlak, Hammond: I have a sweet tooth so I always give up sugary goodies during Lent. Really, this is a sacrifice for me. I save the money I would usually spend and put it into the basket at church each week. One good thing is that by the time Easter rolls around, those cakes, cookies and candy really taste good.

Reed Grashaw, 10, Dyer: I gave up video games. It’s hard, really hard, but my dad says he’s proud of me.



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