Resisting temptation is not always an easy feat. For the next 32 days, many students across campus will see how they measure up to the challenge as the Lent season begins.
Lent has been a popular time to acknowledge Jesus’ trials and temptations in the desert
for hundreds of years among Catholics and various other Christian denominations. During this time, people everywhere choose to “give up”
one of their vices or something they really enjoy; these things can range anywhere from diet
soda to social media. In the Catholic faith, observers of Lent also abstain from eating meat on Fridays.
Lent consists of the 40 days, excluding Sundays, leading up to Easter Sunday and beginning on Ash Wednesday – a day characterized by ashes being placed upon the foreheads of Catholics who choose to participate in day long fasting.
Melissa Sharpe, junior from Marion, Ill., said Ash Wednesday is a part of Lent she takes seriously.
Sharpe said that the purpose of Ash Wednesday is to show commitment to the Lent season and faith.
“We aren’t supposed to go out to the world and broadcast that we’re giving something up for Lent,” she said. “However, with the ashes you aren’t ‘broadcasting’ but more just showing your commitment to staying true to the real meaning of the Lent season.”
This year, Sharpe said she wanted to do a combination of things for Lent so she chose to add a task to her daily routine by writing letters to people that have helped her throughout her life in addition to abstaining from meat on Fridays.
“Lent is more than just giving something up, it’s growing closer to God and your faith,” Sharpe said. “These are people that have helped me along my faith journey so I wanted to give back to them, too.”
Not unlike many other students, Sharpe said she has observed Lent all of her life.
Ann Myers, sophomore from New Albany, Ohio, said her family has been observing Lent for as long as she can remember.
This year, Myers is partnering up with her roommate to resist the temptation of eating sweets. So far, she said she has been successful in all of her Lent commitments.
“I have given up eating sweets before,” she said. “Last year I gave up Facebook, though. It was really hard but I never cheated.”
Myers said while some Lent followers allow breaks on Sundays because Sundays are not included in the 40 days of Lent, she does not. Instead, she said she likes the challenge of maintaining true to her word and commitment.
“It shouldn’t be about what you’re giving up, but more about what Christ gave up for you,” she said.
Catholics are not the only denomination choosing to participate in Lent, as many other Christian denominations take part in the process as well.
Katie Hogan, senior from Frankfort, Ky., is observing Lent as a Baptist. She said she does not really celebrate many of the other traditions aside from Easter Sunday.
“I still don’t know all the details about (Lent) because I’ve heard several different things,” she said. “A lot of my friends are Catholic, though, and celebrate Lent so I decided to as well.”
Hogan said she has celebrated the season throughout her college career. This year, she is abstaining from energy drinks and fast food.
Choosing to observe Lent is a nice way to show commitment to a religion or, for some, simply to test oneself against temptation.