Although Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is widely celebrated, the original reason for the season can sometimes be forgotten. For some Northwestern students, Lent means a lot more than the chance to gorge on Fat Tuesday.
“Lent is the 40 days before Easter when Christians prepare themselves for the resurrection of Christ,” said sophomore Ben Loftis. “They strive to become closer to God in that time.”
During this time period, some people choose to give up various items or habits for different reasons.
“The main purpose of Lent is to help you empathize with Jesus and how he made it through the 40 days of fasting,” said freshman Erin Brasser. “It’s about convincing yourself that you can go without something and some things aren’t necessary in life.”
Senior Sarah Jones decided to give up something that made an impact on her life daily: caffeine.
“When I was thinking about what I wanted to give up for Lent, I wanted it to be something important to me, and I felt like caffeine is something that I came to depend on,” Jones said. “I felt like I was relying on caffeine more than God’s strength to get me through the day.”
Lent is intended to cause people to think about more than surface worth and instead reflect on Christ. This year for Lent, Brasser decided to give up cookies.
“Every time you are in a situation where you are tempted to eat or use what you gave up, you remember why you are doing it in the first place,” Brasser said.
Some students chose to give up food items, but Loftis chose to give up a bad habit: swearing.
“It’s a bad habit that obviously doesn’t glorify God, and our spiritual relationship is supposed to bring us closer to God,” Loftis said. “I’ve already found myself trying to avoid swearing, gossip and other negative language.”
Jones said she gained a better understanding of fasting through Lent.
“I gave up one thing, but Jesus fasted from food and water for 40 days,” Jones said. “All I’m giving up is caffeine. It’s hard sometimes, but it gives me a better perspective.”
Instead of giving up something, senior Jeffrey Hubers decided to focus on doing more.
“I’m trying different spiritual disciplines like prayer, reflective reading and meditation,” Hubers said. “I’m trying to come to terms with my sinfulness and Christ’s sacrifice and to accomplish that by doing more.”
Through this, Hubers said he hopes to have a grateful spirit and develop a better sense of humility and understanding of the Lenten season, Easter and Christ’s gift of sacrifice.
Different people choose to celebrate the Lenten season in various ways, but the reasons for involvement during Lent seem to have a common thread.
“I think that there are a lot of spiritual disciplines that come from Lent,” Loftis said. “The degree to which you want to participate is totally up to you. If there is something that is a sin in your life, you can give it up and use it to deepen your relationship with Christ.”