Augustine Ng

Season of sacrifice

By  Augustine Ng, Youth Speak News
  • January 29, 2015

It’s a new year again, and for many Advent is still fresh in our minds. That’s why it may come as a surprise that Lent is quickly approaching.

Lent begins Feb. 18 and ends April 4. After Christmas, the season of spiritual and material indulgence, I like to begin to prepare myself for Lent, the season of sacrifice, with some reflection.

When I was younger, I saw Lent as a solemn season, but also a time when I just went through the motions. I would attend the Ash Wednesday Mass with my family and for the next 40 days, my family would fast and abstain, especially on Fridays when we wouldn’t eat meat. I would go to confession and ask for forgiveness and we would attend the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. Then soon enough it was Easter Sunday.
And that was it.

I had a very child-like understanding of Lent. I knew that it led up to Jesus’ betrayal, death and crucifixion. To a child, death is a sad subject. Therefore to my younger self, Lent was a sorrowful season.

Now that I’m older I understand why we do the things we do. I realize that Lent is not sorrowful. Lent is a time to be grateful for all that God has given us. God gave up His only Son to die on the cross for our sins. He has given us a huge gift that we sometimes forget about because of our busy lives. Lent is a good time to slow everything down and to think.

My daily life, like so many others, is so filled with distraction. The work I do, or the things I do while I should be working, can come between me and God. During Lent, we are called to abstain and fast, but when I was younger, I thought fasting and abstaining meant eating less food. I now know that food is not the only thing I can abstain from.

For example, if I really enjoy television, instead of watching for hours I can just catch my favourite show. I shouldn’t over indulge and fill my life with activities I mistakenly think will sustain true happiness. When we try to make ourselves happy without God, we are only happy in the moment. Sooner or later, it will wear off. These things cannot truly satisfy us.

During Lent, I aim to make more time for God. Spending less time indulging in my pastimes may be hard at first, but by abstaining I can begin to contemplate how much Jesus gave up for us, for me. And without unnecessary distractions, the fogginess of life will start to clear.

(Ng, 17, is a first-year journalism student at Ryerson University in Toronto.)

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