Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.
I always laugh when I talk with different people about past Lents and things we did to ourselves. I think about that time in 4th grade when I gave up biting my nails, or every year when I try to eat less sugar, or even last year when I only drank water and green tea. We focus on these bad habits in our lives for 40 days, and then what?
Don’t get me wrong, I totally believe in choosing something to “give-up” for Lent and I definitely have a list of things to work on over the next 40 days, but I’m trying to remember these little sacrifices do nothing in comparison to the sacrifice Christ made on the Cross.
It is so good and beautiful to be intentional about our actions during these 40 days, but it is not enough to only do so during this time. Lenten sacrifices are supposed to remind us of the luxuries we enjoy ALL the time so that we realize that we do not need them ALL the time.
So this Lent, instead of worrying about the length of my fingernails, I’m going to think about the nails in Christ’s hands and feet, constantly reminding myself those nails were for me. Instead of simply resisting chocolate on Valentine’s Day, I’m going to think about the bitter-sweetness of the Last Supper as Christ gave us the greatest gift of the Eucharist, while knowing what He was about to endure in just a few hours. Instead of constantly thinking about the messages I am missing on social media, I’ll think think of the great message of love that Christ gave us through His suffering. Instead of complaining about my thirst for caffeine, I’ll remember Christ’s thirst on the Cross.
I pray that our little sacrifices over the next 40 days not only bring us to a deeper understanding of Christ’s great sacrifice, but remind us to imitate Christ in every aspect of our lives.
“The ashes tell the world that we are sinners. But they are in the sign of the cross…and so we are sinners who have hope.” -Father Richard Veras