What to Give up for Lent

Unique ideas to guide your decision

For more than a century, Catholic Extension has helped Catholic communities across the United States practice their faith—no matter the circumstances. One way we do that today is by providing opportunities for all Catholics to pray and reflect together online. Through Sunday Mass online and weekly email meditations, we practice their faith in solidarity with the diverse faithful across our country.

The following weekly reflection was written by our President Emeritus Bishop William R. Houck in 2010. Bishop Houck passed away on March 9, 2016.

Not sure what to give up for Lent this year? Here are a few suggestions.

The gift of another season of Lent is upon us. The Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy speaks clearly about Lent:

The season of Lent has a twofold character: primarily by recalling or preparing for baptism and by penance, it disposes the faithful, who more diligently hear the word of God and devote themselves to prayer, to celebrate the paschal mystery.

(# 109)

We are urged to pray for those who are preparing for baptism or full initiation into the Catholic Church at Easter. We who are already baptized are meant to spend Lent preparing to renew our baptismal promises at Easter. The penance we embrace during Lent hopefully helps us to do this better and better each year through our prayer, fasting and works of charity.
Some still talk about this as a time “to give up something.” Here are some suggestions for not only giving up something but also doing better. I found these some years ago. Their source is unknown.
Give up bitterness; turn to forgiveness.
Give up hatred; return good for evil.
Give up negativism; be positive.
Give up complaining; be grateful.
 Give up pessimism; be an optimist.
Give up harsh judgments; think kind thoughts.
Give up worry; trust Divine Providence.
Give up discouragement; be full of hope.
Give up anger; be more patient.
Give up pettiness; be more mature.
Give up gloom; enjoy the beauty around you.
Give up jealousy; pray for trust.
Give up gossiping; control your thoughts.
Give up sin; turn to virtue.

Whether you decide to give something up for Lent or take a different path, we wish you a blessed season.

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