Lent. Am I doing enough

I am second-guessing my Lenten intentions…

If you decide to give something up, how far do you go? How far SHOULD you go? How much is it supposed to hurt?

As a scrupulous person, I tend, anyway, to think about punishing myself and stuff like that.

I posted here a while ago the question that if you thought you “couldn’t” give something up, because it is too hard or would cause some negative effects for you, does that mean you HAVE to?
I asked this a priest too, I told him about how for one day on a Friday I gave up the studies I love doing and are a big “purpose” in my life right now, something I am working on, and realized how I got all depressed etc, and if that was a sign that I liked that hobby too much. He said no, it was a sign I chose to give up the wrong thing, that I shouldn’t cut back my joy of life. Hm. Maybe he said that because he knows I am scrupulous. Maybe he is right. I tend to think I have to go the hardest possible way. But didn’t mother Teresa say something like that too?

Anyway, I decided not to give up my studying for Lent because also because it would probably get me behind (I study by myself, so I COULD, if I wanted to, give it up. I am not at a school).
I decided to instead do what I did last year, give up the constant impulsive snacking I do sometimes. Which is a good thing, I think. And on Fridays no cappuccino foam on my coffee. Along witht he usual Friday thing I do all year.

But now I am worried I might not do enough. Maybe I should give up all hobbies during Lent and only concentrate on the scriptures. Not do anything I enjoy. But then I don’t think that would be good. And the priest I talked to also said that wasn’t what we were meant to do, it is ok to enjoy life, that God has given us, even during Lent.

Still I am confused.
Is it ok to do anything you enjoy during Lent, I may ask myself.
Is it ok to decide NOT to give something up?
Is it ok, for example, to decide you DON’T want to give up listening to music during Lent because you feel you need it for your spiritual well-being, and decide to do something else instead?
See, for me, there would probably be a little voice then, that says: A-ha, you love music too much, that’s why you don’t want to give it up, now you HAVE to give it up.

I decided to listen to the priest and just do something “regular”, like the constant snacking thing (I tend to eat a big part of my meal while I am preparing it, and I want to NOT do that; stuff like that.)
And now I wonder, am I doing enough?
Or should we anyway all give up what we love doing the most?

I thought about adding something too.
But I already pray the rosary daily andyway and make it to daily mass on many days of the week, so those aren’t options to add.


I gave up lent for lent. just kidding. Instead of giving up things, do things instead! :slight_smile:

Lent is not about punishing yourself but about drawing closer to GOd. You should do things or give up things that wil achieve that. Yes, you can do things you enjoy. Our parish has its dinner dance and several other big social gatherings during Lent. Those things are enjoyable to all. I have given up between meal eating, not to punish myself, but when I feel hunger pains I say a prayer. At dinner, I eat and enjoy what I eat. I would listen to your priest, he sounds very wise and helpful in your situation.

Maybe the question, in short words, is: Would any of you say it could be a sin not to give up one of the things that would be so hard that it would make you feel depressed?

Kathren, keep your normal life as it is… All you have to do for Lent is maybe do something nice for someone like a neighbor who can’t go to the store. Or do volunteer work once per week.

YOU ARE ALREADY LOVED BY GOD because you are a good person and are very close to God, Mother Mary, and the Angels.

Lent is just a reminder to do the best that we can as people. We don’t need to punish ourselves by depriving ourselves of anything.

I am not depriving myself of any thing in my life. I just plan to help others as much as I can during my life-time in any way that I am able to help out.
I plan to also read the Bible more during Lent and read other Catholic books.

You are self-analyzing yourself too much and that is not necessary. Try to enjoy your life as much as possible. That is all what God wants from us.
Helping others brings me joy and I feel I get soul development.

I think I just had an inspiration.
I haven’t used my blog in a while. I think during Lent I’ll try to write a little spiritual reflection there every day. Maybe somebody else who reads it will get something out of it too!:slight_smile: :slight_smile:

The “problem” of course now, is, this is something I actually enjoy doing… BUT it IS something that draws me closer to Jesus, I would say. Me and maybe others?

Hi Kathrin. This piece of wisdom from Joannm is a great reminder to all of us… what Lent is really for :yup:. Drawing closer to God.

I think your priest gave you the right advice. God isn’t out to punish us, during Lent. He loves us! He doesn’t demand any sacrifice of us… which we are unable (because of health or human frailty)… to offer Him, freely. My sister is having a rough time with this, too. Because she isn’t able to fast. She gets really sick when she tries. So, I suggested to her that she omit ONE or TWO favorite foods… and in that way, participate in the fasting.

Kathrin… I would suggest that you choose just one or two things… that you feel you CAN do… and offer them to Our Lord, with all the love in your heart. My bet is… that will please Him more than anything. So many times, in my own life… I have found that by starting small… Our Lord grants me the grace to build on what I’ve been able to do for Him. That is His grace, at work. Trust in Him! :wink:

God bless you and give you peace.

MarieVeronica :curtsey:

Maybe you can look at doing something healthy, but not necessarily gut-wrenching? I wondered about what I was going to do, so I decided to give up drinking anything but water (w/ two minor exceptions) for Lent. Since I never almost drink water, I figure it will help get me a little healthier while fulfilling my Lenten obligation.

Just make sure you drink enough anyway!:wink:

Try to drink bottled water. I can’t handle drinking the Los Angeles water. It has too many chemicals and it gets my stomach upset.

I read that the New York water is so clean of chemicals and that it tastes good. Some company has started selling TAP WATER bottles from N.Y. Isn’t that interesting?

Unless I exercise that day, I don’t usually drink any… :blush:

You hit the bulls eye!!!:thumbsup:

Also offer your daily sufferings for the conversion of sinners, even your enemies.

In order to avoid sin during lent, if you are 14 years old to 59 years old you must fast and abstain on Ash Wed. and Good Friday and abstain from meat all of the Fridays of lent. Those that are 12 years and older abstain on the Fridays of lent. Any thing else is voluntary. I would recommend giving up something that you find pleasurable though.

The point of fasting and abstainence is to subdue the passions and re-order our priorities from the carnal to the spiritual. One doesn’t ‘score points’ by making one’s self as miserable as possible or by cutting out beneficial things like studies; but rather in giving up certain pleasures and luxuries one makes more time for God.

Here’s a good thread to check out:

a particularly good quote from post #11 is this:
“The Lenten Triodion (Byzantine Office Book for Lent) frequently reminds us that if we do not accompany our fasting with the practice of virtues (especially charity) and active works such as more prayer and almsgiving, our fasting will make us resemble the demons, who never eat at all.”

Put some drinking water into a pitcher or always have a water bottle with you…

Thank you everybody for the helpful replies.

Well, the “problem” with doing more charitable things for me is that I am already doing a lot of that, so much that people tell me I shouldn’t overdo it and care about myself too…:blush:

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