40 days, 40 nights
Students reflect on their sacrifices
Gretchen Burns | managing editor
Ash Wednesday saw the start of the Lenten season, and Katie George’s sacrifice.
George says that she wants better herself physically and spiritually.
“My goal is to start exercising at least three days a week. I think that this will help me be healthier, but also it’s a great way to deal with stress,” said George, junior in graphic communication. “If I can handle my stress better I will be a happier person to be around.”
Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days before Easter.
It’s a time when Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans and Methodists prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time as a reflection for God and Jesus Christ.
The Christian observance of Lent has been practiced since ancient times. Christians of antiquity would devote their entire lives to prayer and penance to remind themselves to be humble and think of God.
Kelsey Neiger gave up all sweets and desserts for this Lenten season.
“Lent to me is a time to put a focus on God, so when I give something up, I choose to focus and add something to better my faith,” said Neiger, junior in elementary education. “This year, I am doing a daily devotional in place of eating sweets.”
In ancient times, Lent was often considered a getaway from the world and work to focus on Christ.
“I feel like Lent is a time to reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus made for us and to sacrifice something in return as a symbol that we want to serve Him,” said Mara Knight, freshman in music education.
Some cultures would take only a few days to observe Lent, while others took a full moon cycle. Over time, the different versions have become unified. Forty days to observe Lent was adopted for the 40 years that the Israelites wandered the desert and the 40 days that Christ was tempted by Satan.
Fasting and abstinence are another common practice during Lent. Fasting is the limiting of the amount of food that is eaten during the day while abstinence is the practice of not eating meat.
Students like Brittany Robbins and Aaron Heidebrecht who are not of the Catholic faith participate in Lent also.
“I’m giving up pop for Lent to try and rid my body of one less unhealthy thing. I participate in Lent because my church that I go to back home practices it,” said Robbins, senior in commercial graphics. “What Lent means to me is that it is a preparation for Easter. My ‘religion’ practices slightly differ from Catholics but the whole ‘giving something up’ is the same.”
Clark Neal saw this Lenten season as a solid excuse to improve his health, despite not practicing religion.
“I’m not religious, but I gave up smoking cigarettes because I saw this as a solid excuse,” said Neal, junior in Spanish. “It really dropped a solid goal in my lap, except I don’t plan on lighting up again after Lent is over.”