Live and Lent live
Students April Cisneros and Mary Fristensky share their difficult yet rewarding Lent experiences. | Photo illustration by Becky Mitchell/THE CHIMES
Amidst the season of Lent the tactics of remembering Jesus’ sacrifice range from different devotionals to giving up something you love.
SOMETHING THAT'S DIFFICULT
For senior English and music major April Cisneros, giving something up is part of her family’s Lent ritual. Part of the family tradition comes from her mom’s Polish side and the other from her dad’s Mexican and Filipino sides, which are largely Catholic cultures. As long as she can remember her Grandma has given up candy and the day after Easter she has bags of candy for everyone to eat, Cisneros said.
“[Giving up sugar is] two-fold, it’s definitely a cool thing because my Grandma used to always do it and then it’s also because … I think the point of Lent is to give up something that is a part of your life normally,” Cisneros said. “And it’s something that’s difficult for you.”
Beyond giving up sugar, the process of fasting from a specific item is also important to Cisneros.
“It’s just such a funny thing because … giving up chocolate is nothing in comparison to Jesus giving up His life, you know? It sounds silly, but it’s just this small thing… it’s like a little taste of the kingdom,” Cisneros said.
ALLOWING BELIEVERS TO REFLECT
Ultimately anything given up cannot amount to the sacrifice and suffering Jesus went through for everyone. However, the time of Lent allows believers to reflect, repent and pray to prepare for Easter, as explained by Bible Gateway.
“I think it reorients you because it’s like normally I would just go to this for comfort or go to this for whatever and it’s like woah it makes you think ‘OK the source of my comfort and well-being is actually supposed to be Jesus,’” Cisneros said.
While freshman music worship major Mary Fristensky is also participating in Lent, her family celebrates in the traditional Catholic way. At the start of Lent, on Ash Wednesday, most Catholics attend a normal church service, except after communion they receive ashes in the shape of a cross on their foreheads. They do this to be reminded everyone will share in a bodily death with Christ, Fristensky said.
Another difference is that Catholics do not eat meat on Fridays during Lent as a group sacrifice rather than a personal sacrifice.
“I just have to be careful because I like meat a lot, so on normal days I’ll just eat meat without thinking about it, so it makes me aware of what I can eat and can’t eat, it has an affect on my meal plans. Every year it’s like ‘oh I can’t eat meat again,’” Fristensky said.
This year Fristensky’s personal sacrifice is to stop spending money whenever she wants to. Each year she goes through a process to choose what to give up or add to her life.
“First I think to myself ‘OK what are the things in my life that I do all the time that maybe I should stop doing,’ like some years it’ll be like… trivial things… but it feels like a big impact and then some years I do more practical habits instead of things,” Fristensky said. “It’s really like what is the biggest thing in my life that’s blocking me from being a better me, like being who I could be in God’s eyes.”
By limiting her spending wants Fristensky is becoming a more financially stable individual.
“I think Catholic or not, giving up something for Lent is really powerful and it reminds you cause it’s something that’s in your daily life, so everyday when you want to do that thing it reminds you oh not going to do it because [I’m] … taking the time to share in Jesus’ sufferings in different ways during Lent,” Fristensky said.