As many are aware the Catholic Pope Benedict XVI will be stepping down at the end of February. The media continues to look at this in awe because it has not happened in over six hundred years. Yes, it has been a while, but it makes some logical sense. This man has immense power to guide the masses to understanding God’s words. However, he has chosen that due to his age and frailty he cannot perform his duties and needs to step down.
This is a rare, but interesting turn of events as the man accepts he cannot fulfill his job. His actions have made me think of my own as of late. I am not Catholic by any means, but still hold almost the same beliefs that were taught by my family and the traditions that many share around the world such as Lent.
Sunday school taught me that it was a 40-day period where you gave something up. Kids around the world immediately gave up eating their vegetables or my favorite giving up chores, but it is something much more different than the regular stream of ideals.
For some, Lent is a time where you don’t eat meat on Fridays or you give up something you enjoy such as pop or playing video games. Some denominations do not follow in the regular ideas of Lent because Lent isn’t about giving up something that you don’t like or just giving something up at all, it’s about sacrifice.
Jesus spent forty days in the desert being tempted by the devil. He forced himself through the torture before he started to preach the Bible. He wanted to understand what the average person went through on a daily basis. It was the constant temptation of the Devil. The Devil tried tempting Jesus to break from the path he chose. Being tempted consistently rattles your very will and makes you waiver at every turn, but being able to stick to your guns and see it through is something worthwhile.
I, for one, have fallen every time that I have chosen to give up something for Lent. I try the best I can by giving up pop or something I enjoy, but it never turns out well and I end up either giving up or failing at the task. It is not that I’m not a religious person, but that it’s really difficult when it’s a part of your everyday life. It’s definitely not easy to achieve something for 40 days when it’s on your mind.
If you gave up watching one hour less of TV a day, the hour that you would regularly be watching TV would drive you up the wall. We fall into habits that we follow to the letter whether it’s eating at certain times or watching our favorite shows, but when you take that out of the picture, everything changes. That temptation of watching TV because you have nothing else to do is extremely hard. It always starts with I’ll only watch five minutes, but it ends up an hour or even two have passed and you have fallen.
Jesus was able to stick through a continual torment from the Devil himself for 40 days. He sacrificed everything to stay the course and make through the trials of the desert. It wasn’t easy for him, and it obviously isn’t easy for the rest of us. The whole idea of Lent is to sacrifice something for only 40 days, but it’s really tough. I challenge any who read this to try it, but give everything you have to complete it. It won’t be easy, but the idea of staying to a path and understanding our traditions in the end can only make us stronger and wiser in our lives.