A little late, but worth (I hope) pointing you to even so, my reflection on the old practice of a special abstinence in Lent, Just Give It Up . It begins:

Our eldest, then about two years old, one day announced “I want . . . ” but did not finish the sentence. My wife and I waited for her to tell us what she wanted — to be picked up and rocked? a cup of milk? her stuffed bear? — but again she said only “I want” and let her voice trail off. She said it a third time, still sounding equally unsure about what she wanted. And then, with a look of enlightenment on her face, said in a loud, firm voice, “ I want!

There, I thought, was the fallen human condition expressed. We are creatures of ravenous, indiscriminate desire. We want this and we want that, but most of all,  We Want .

Hence the value of Lent . . .

Giving something up is a discipline I came to as an adult and only started because it seemed the sort of thing Christians were supposed to do, though personally I wasn’t feeling it, and found doing so helped me a lot, as I explain in the article. It’s something I’m now a little evangelical about.

And before the more-spiritual-than-you commenters jump in: yes, it is also crucial to pray more and give more alms, but that’s not my subject. My subject is this part of the training program.

So just do it. You’ll feel better. Well, okay, you’ll probably feel worse, but then you’ll feel better.

Articles by David Mills


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