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Lent – Nearing the end

When I was a kid, Lent was all about “giving up.” Maybe that’s why I didn’t particularly like it.

Oh, I definitely looked forward to Easter, but mostly because I could eat chocolate and go to movies again. And then someone told me that Lent really ended at noon on Holy Saturday. Wow! That meant I could eat chocolate while at the afternoon matinee. How sweet!

Well, as St. Paul tells us: “When I was a child, I thought and understood as a child …” (1 Cor. 13, 11).

So, how is Lent different for me now as an adult? How is it different for you?

I decided that topic might be a good one for a dinner conversation. Here’s what I learned.

Do you give up something during Lent (like reading the comics) or do you GIVE during Lent?

Do you give up something during Lent (like reading the comics) or do you GIVE during Lent?

Sister Peggy (James Patrick) Lynch’s childhood memory of Lent was giving up reading the comics page. During Lent she put that section under her bed each day. She read them all on Easter Sunday! Giving up something was definitely what most of us did as kids.

As an adult? These were the responses …

  • “I still give something up, but it tends to be certain attitudes or behaviors toward others. I work on not being critical or judgmental,” offered Sister Mary Ann McCauley.”
  • “I find myself wanting to give something to others, in the sense of almsgiving talked about in the Gospel. I’ve found the Lenten boxes from Catholic Relief Services meaningful motivation because I know well the Sister of Providence who ministers with them.” (Sister Peggy)
  • Sister Mary Ann Phelan (Marie Marcella) said, “Yes, I also like the idea of giving something; I give my time and visit the sick.”
  • “I know I pray more now,” said Sister Marceline Mattingly. “Not so much adding on of devotions, as spending time in reflection and conversation with Jesus.”

Personally, I find it more helpful to vary my practices from week to week in Lent. That way I find myself less likely to “pat myself on the back” for 40-days well done. I believe the last time I checked they called that pride.

What will be your prayer, almsgiving and fasting practices these last weeks of Lent?

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Sister Ann Casper

Sister Ann Casper, SP, retired as the executive director for Mission Advancement for the Sisters of Providence in 2018 and currently serves as minister of Providence Community Cemetery at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. Sister Ann has ministered in various scholastic and administrative positions in Indiana and North Carolina. She also was a member of the Sisters of Providence leadership team, serving as General Secretary.

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