Lent Reduced to a Type of Diet

Carolyn Conte ‘14 | Staff Writer

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a season of fasting, but in today’s world it seems more like a period of dieting leading up to yet another holiday to splurge. Society seems to have forgotten that they aren’t giving up something — they’re putting aside distractions from God. In my opinion, many religious things have been simplified like this today.

I have often wondered how Christ’s resurrection devolved into a giant bunny rabbit that leaves chocolate eggs for children to find. Bunnies don”t even lay eggs. I can understand how it started as a celebration, especially as little kids can’t fully understand the true meaning. Or even maybe as a metaphor for new life — a stretch, though. But because of this, I would venture to guess that there is a large, increasing number of young kids, especially non-Christians, who don’t know what Easter really is.

When you’re living in a place where a commercial comes on saying “It seems like people save everything for Sunday: barbecues, game-day…” and leaves out the most vital, obvious event that happens every Sunday (I mean mass), what else can you expect? Did we forget though, that our pledge says “One nation, under God”? Just because we have freedom of religion doesn’t mean we have to act like there isn’t a God. Freedom of religion means freedom to choose, not freedom from religion.

It seems that our society is paranoid about insulting people. I’m pretty sure you can’t insult people by recognizing God. Almost all religions believe in God, and with regard to atheists who don’t believe in God, how can they be insulted by what they would just brush away as ignorance?

Besides the whole “true meaning of Christmas,” there are other holidays whose religious background we ignore. Why do we call St. Valentine’s day just ‘Valentine’s day’? And when is the last time people picked clover-leafs on St. Patrick’s day remembering how St. Patrick used it as a metaphor for the trinity, and not just to mean “good luck”? How did leprechauns even get involved in a saint’s day? Or how about Halloween: All Hallow’s Day, aka All Saint’s Day, is now about dressing up and collecting candy. Or, back to lent — Mardi Gras is supposed to be the day where one ‘pigs out’ before the season of fasting, but of course it has been reduced to beads and pancakes. Yet the pigging out part stays!

Thankfully, we have our own school to remind us to keep Lent holy. Many students are giving up junk foods, video games or bad habits. “It can be very beneficial for somebody [sacrificing something for Lent] on their spiritual journey through Lent. It doesn’t always work out this way, but a person may fill their need for God with other things, so taking those other things away helps them to remember God,” said Ms. Rebecca Rooney of the Religion Department.

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