Sacrificing is Bigger Than Lent

Lent is all about sacrifice—to “recover by penance what we have lost by sin.” We all put thought into what we’re giving up for Lent, which is ordinarily a 40-day sacrifice. But there are other ways to practice penances throughout Lent and throughout the year. Here are three ideas that can help you in the short term (the act) and the long term by training your will to act more in line with holiness all year. A reformed will requires breaking bad habits, and building good ones.

Choose less than what you want.

Feel like having another cup of coffee? Have a cup of tea instead. Or have your coffee, but skip the milk or sugar you usually mix into it. Choosing less than what you really want is a great way to offer up small sacrifices that are easy to do. 

Go the extra mile

Sacrifice isn’t just about saying “no” It can also be about saying “yes”—doing more than what you want or need to do. Whether it’s an extra chore, extra attention paid to a particular task, or doing more than what you’re asked to do for someone else, going the extra mile is not only sacrificial, it’s also an exercise in charity.

The last will be first

Take second place (or third or fourth…) and let someone go ahead of you in line. Or be the last to be served. Let others take priority. Regarding others as more important than yourself is an imitation of Christ Himself. Bonus virtue: Humility.

Of course being more prayerful is a great practice, too. But sometimes that’s a little too easy. These three things will challenge you without killing you. Have a good and holy Lent! See you on the other side! (Easter)

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