Time: a temporal sacrifice for eternal good

With the season of Lent nearly upon us, many dutiful Catholics may be found scrambling to decide which treat or trinket to give up for the 40 days until Easter. While I think we could all indeed benefit from relinquishing the vices of sugar and screen time, I propose another, possibly more meaningful, Lenten sacrifice.

Time is incredibly precious to the college student. Every waking moment is spent at work, either keeping up grades, participating in extracurriculars, trying to live healthily, or maintaining a social life. Every moment in between such tasks is spent attempting to catch up on the sleep we so desperately need. Time, then, is such a finite resource for all of us at Saint Anselm College, but with that in mind, I ask you to sacrifice some of your time for Lent.

Lent is the time when we prepare ourselves for Holy Week, and especially Good Friday, the day when we remember Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the Cross. We are all called, at this time, to sacrifice of ourselves in a meaningful way. While giving up something bad for you is generally good at any time of year, giving up something important to you is especially important during Lent. Time is one of our most precious, and most limited resources. In this sense, giving up our time is an immensely meaningful sacrifice.

Now, it is easy to say we should give up our time, but how does one actually make a sacrifice of their time? We still have to dedicate time to our academics, health, and social lives, but the Lenten season also calls us to dedicate time to faith. Sacrifice your time for prayer and service this Lent. Even if it is as simple as waking up a few minutes earlier to pray the rosary, or going with your friends to help at a community center rather than a bar on a Friday night. To some, these may seem like small sacrifices, but the repetition and sincerity with which you commit your time to worship and service may lead to its continuation throughout the rest of the year, and the dedication to such time during Lent reminds us of Christ’s dedication to saving us. To others, these obligations may appear to be an awesome, if not impossible, task. Yet bear in mind that no sacrifice we make during Lent can ever compare to the sacrifice Christ has made for us, (and also remember it is okay to start small, with maybe one decade of the rosary or a short personal prayer).

Even with a small sacrifice, though, it is deeply important to remain diligent, and comply with the utmost sincerity, as a Lenten sacrifice should have a strong personal significance. It is, of course, important to evangelize, and I call all members of the community, Catholic or not, to participate in a Lenten sacrifice to foster a deeper relationship with each other and with God. However, Lent is a time for personal reflection, thoughtfulness, and prayer. It is not a time to determine how great one’s sacrifice is compared to another’s. Recall, for instance, the story of the Widow’s Offering, wherein Jesus notes how many wealthy individuals offered great sums of money, yet a poor widow offered the only two small coins in her possession, which was the greater spiritual sacrifice (Mark 12:41-44). Lent is a time for humility, faith, and sacrifice, all of which are of equal importance to prepare for the death and resurrection of Christ our King.

Enter into this Lent with prayer and thoughtfulness, and be willing to sacrifice more than a favored snack. Give of your most precious possessions, so that you may enrich the world with your service, and your faith with your worship. And, in addition to your time, try giving up sweets so you can be sure to fit into your Easter attire.