No matter what you call it, Lent, Mardi Gras, Day after doughnut day, whatever, for Christians, it is a call to do something special. But the something special, too often, encompasses something that is to be given up, to be sacrificed from our routine. This is understandable since Lent is the time leading up to the Sacrifice on the Cross. In our love for Christ, we wish to imitate, in some small way, His actions, His sacrifice. Sacrificing or giving things up is one way of imitating Christ, of showing our love for Him. It, however, doesn’t need to be a negative it can also be a positive. There are many ways we can show our love. Look at it like this, we are giving up our time to help someone. We can do things that, as we are  depriving ourselves, we are helping someone else. How much greater will that sacrifice be, if we help someone else with no apparent benefit to ourselves?

I would like to suggest a few options. I am sure once you see the pattern, you will be able to think of many more that fit your life’s direction. Try to think of someone who you will see today, someone, with whom you might have a minor problem. What can you do for him/her that will be difficult for you, but by doing it, you can make that person feel better? Maybe the person needs someone to talk to. Maybe, they need a drop of kindness. Maybe they need transportation to the store. The point is that you have to dig within and find the person, whom you can help today. Usually the  sacrifice of doing for, of suppressing our feelings is a far greater sacrifice then giving up candy.

If we look within ourselves, we can find what that day’s sacrifice is. Early on in the day, spend a few minutes and scan the day’s events in your mind. Who will you meet? What will you be doing? What jumps out at you as a potential disaster waiting to happen? The areas that seem to spur red flags in your mind, are probably the very areas that are potential Lenten sacrifices.

Usually a potential disaster is not expected. It comes like a bolt out of the sky. The unexpected events that present that day’s obstacle are much more difficult to handle. Since they are unexpected, they cannot be planned for. All we can do with these, is try to see the hand of God in them, and try to show our readiness to embrace them. All we can do is accept it, do our best with it, and realize that if all else fails Christ will carry our burdens, as well.

If you do these things and accept that person or event lovingly, even once, you will know in your heart that you did something very positive for Christ. His smile back at you will be your energy for the next day. You will know that this was better than giving up candy.