Why Lent (2014)

Note: This blog is from Lent 2014 (See Lent 2015's update: "A Year Later.  Still Agnostic.  Why Lent (again)?").

The Advisor for our CRS Student Ambassador chapter asked me if I would be willing to write about why I decided to celebrate Lent this year, and these are my thoughts.

I have never participated in Lent before. I always thought it was this time of year when everyone just gave up soda and chocolate for no reason, and I never really understood the importance behind it. Being an Agnostic, I never understood why giving up something unnecessary that we have is an important thing to do.  And, I actually didn't think I could take part in Lent because I do not practice a form of Christianity. But, for the first time in my life, I have been participating in the Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl program. For me, this was not just about giving something up; it was about taking something on.

Lent is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations meant to celebrate Jesus’ life and repent for our sins. The most interesting aspect of this year’s Lenten season is that students have stood hand in hand and come together to produce different videos from different Universities from all over the nation. Schools from University of Georgia all the way to University of Buffalo have made videos to talk about what exactly Lent means to them.

By watching all the different videos, I realized that there is a common goal from this year’s Lenten season, which is to not only give up something for Lent but to take on something as well. This idea of incorporating something new has skyrocketed and now it seems as though almost every student wants to “do more” this year. Whether that may be praying every day, making one of the specific meals suggested on the calendar for the Rice Bowl, or just putting extra change into the Rice Bowl every day, students are putting themselves out there to benefit others this Lenten season.

I personally vowed to add money to my Rice Bowl every day. Also, I decided I wanted to advocate more on campus about social injustices in general. I have been posting statistics, information, and ways to advocate through the use of social media every day.

Coming from someone who barely went to church as a child but prays every night, I felt as though it was necessary for me to take part in CRS’s Rice Bowl during the Lenten season, as I continue to live out my faith in my own way. I really appreciate how open students at Cabrini College have been with me even though we come from different faiths, beliefs and religions. Being able to connect and understand why other students are doing what they are doing is extremely rewarding. 

The 40 Days, 40 Stories video series has really touched my heart because these are students who have put aside dedicated time in order to film what Lent means to them and what they are doing to celebrate this Lenten season.