Students celebrate season of Lent

Victoria Garcia

It can be as simple as giving up cookies or as serious as daily meditation, but what’s certain is that the season of Lent is recognized by its followers as a time of soul-searching, reflection and, most importantly, sacrifice.

More commonly known as the 40-day period before Easter, this year Lent began on Feb. 6, Ash Wednesday, and is set to end on March 22, one day prior to Easter Sunday. Originating in the earliest days of the Church, the season is celebrated in some form or another by all churches that have a continuous history extending before 1500 A.D.

Patti Lyon, director of the Catholic Campus Center, explained that the way people choose to celebrate Lent is open to a number of vast possibilities. However, those of the Catholic faith usually follow somewhat uniform guidelines.

“It’s a time where we are asked by God to fast, pray and give alms [donations to the poor],” said Lyon. “It prepares us for the wonderful celebration of Easter.”

Catholics who are 14 years of age and older are instructed to refrain from the consumption of meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all of the Fridays during the Lent season. In addition, fasting is to be observed by all Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59.

On days of fasting one full meal is allowed, with the exclusion of any kind of meat. Two smaller meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to need, but these two meals should not equal another full meal when put together. While eating between meals is not permitted, liquids are always allowed.

“Fasting and abstaining from meat gives followers an idea of just how much Christ himself sacrificed while out in the wilderness for 40 days,” said Lyon. “In many ways it forces us to challenge our own capitalist, materialistic behaviors.”

Washburn student and CCC member Sam Grief decided to give up coffee for this year’s Lent season.

“This time before Easter always reminds me of how much I have to be thankful for and all the things that God has given up for me to be here today,” said Grief.

Grief explained that while she is usually very good about not breaking her Lent sacrifices and observing the fast, she admits that her hectic life as a college student has made staying aware of her sacrifices a bit harder.

Fellow CCC member and Washburn student Adam Stephenson was inspired by a close friend to simplify his own life and chose to focus on the process of self-improvement during Lent.

“I’ve been using this time to look into different parts of my life and essential de-clutter in regards to my way of living,” said Stephenson. “Lent has always been a favored time for me because it’s so powerful to give something up and understand what we need and what God wants for us.”

Natasha Murray-Norman, Campus Ministry pastor, explained that fasting or sacrificing essentially imitates the sacrifices that God made for everyone. While some might think they have to give up something big to adequately participate in the Lent process, she expressed that those who are just beginning to explore Lent should start with something small and work up to bigger sacrifices as they grow more comfortable.

“During the Lent season people can sacrifice anything,” said Murray-Norman. “The basic idea is for them to look into their own life and examine what items or activities might be hindering them from having a closer relationship with God. The emphasis is on Him. We should be asking ourselves, ‘Because He sacrificed himself, what can I do to show that I love Him?'”