If you’ve been wondering what you might this year give up for Lent, might I suggest that instead of giving up something, you give up everything?
Everything. All of it. All you are. All you have. All you know yourself to be.
Lent is as old-school as old-school gets. Doing it justice—experiencing the real cleansing it implies, and the rejuvenation which is its culmination—means tapping into some of the more, shall we say, fundamental aspects of Christianity.
If you’re a Christian, Lent is the time for feeling just how real that is, how deeply that goes. It means comprehending that being a Christian goes all the way to literally the very marrow of your bones.
It means getting down on your knees and praying for God to forgive how routinely you squander the gift of Jesus’ terrible and glorious sacrifice for you on the cross.
It means staying rooted in penitential mourning over what happened to Jesus.
It means sacrificing to God and others, and God sacrificed for you and the world.
It means breaking yourself, as Jesus allowed himself to be broken for you.
Go to a liturgical church service today. Get the sign of the cross drawn on your forehead with the ashes of last year’s Palm Sunday. Say the prayers. Learn and do the Stations of the Cross.
Feel the hollow, riveting truth of all that God is, and all that you are not.
For forty days, and forty nights, live in the quiet, empty, cold darkness that must come before finally and gloriously the Son arises.