And then what?

Reflection and photo ​by SSJ Agrégée Charlene Kellerman

As we know, the practice of giving up something is often a ritual for Lent.  It can serve as a symbol of self-sacrifice, a form of fasting, and represent the sacrifice for Jesus when he went to the desert to fast and pray before the ultimate sacrifice on the cross.

While these chosen sacrifices of ours can hope to bring us closer to the suffering of Jesus, I’d like to ask “and then what?”

Consider this:
I’m giving up sweets for Lent.
And then what?  Will this evolve into a healthier lifestyle that extends beyond Lent?

I’m giving up fast foods for Lent.
And then what?  Will you make a meal with your family that you share together?  Will you prepare a homemade meal for a neighbor in need?

I’m giving up soda/alcohol for Lent.
And then what?  Will you drink more water and offer gratitude for the availability of clean drinking water?

I’m giving up social media for Lent.
And then what?  Will you reach out to family and friends with a letter, a telephone call or perhaps a visit?

I’m giving up online shopping for Lent.
And then what?  Will you shop local, support a charity, or refrain from shopping for nonessential items completely?

I’m given up TV (or a favorite show) for Lent.
And then what?  Will you spend that time in prayer, reconnecting with God?

The point is, we always need to be looking for our “and then what”, our step just beyond where we are at this moment.

Imagine if there had been no “and then what” for Jesus.  Imagine if his life ended with his death on the cross.

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