Lent is Not A Diet

cup of coffeeA good Orthodox friend of mine always reminds people “Lent is not a diet.” And he is right.

For many, Lent is about making fairly small dietary changes. All Catholics are expected to give up meat on Fridays (the flesh of warm blooded animals), and others make their own changes, like giving up sweets or coffee. And there is nothing wrong with this. But it isn’t about going on a diet. While consuming Omega-3 fats from fish is healthy, we don’t avoid meat on Fridays simply to boost our brain power.

Lent is about becoming more like Christ, cultivating the fruits of the Spirit. So, if you are not eating meat, but a total unloving jerk, then you are missing the point. I know some Catholics that go “all out” during Lent, and the result is that they are messes by the end of Lent, which is to say, they get the “diet” part down, but not the “become more like Christ” part.

Lent is not a diet. Lent is a time to become more like Christ. If your Lenten disciplines are about calories, animal flesh, etc, and don’t go beyond that, I suggest doing some introspection and change your plans.

About David Bennett

David Bennett is an author, speaker, and small business owner. He started ChurchYear.Net in 2004, along with his brother Jonathan. The site gets over one million visitors a year, and Bennett’s writings have appeared in church bulletins, newspapers, and other media.

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