---- — I laughed years ago when my little sister gave up Kool-Aid for Lent and had to basically be medically disqualified from her self-imposed challenge.
She claimed she just couldn’t drink one more drop of water because it tasted so bad. She ended up a bit dehydrated.
I had to admire her, though. She could have gone for something easy, but she tried to sacrifice something she REALLY loved as a little girl.
So why do Catholics make these sacrifices or try to do something extra special during Lent? Inquiring minds want to know.
I made a quick trip to Sts. Joan of Arc & Patrick School Thursday to pose this question to the kids there. Their answers were sweet, sometimes funny and often insightful.
I’ll share snippets with you here, but to see more, check out the short videos I made. You can find them on the homepage of our website at www.kokomotribune.com.
You won’t be disappointed.
Third-grader Eric Binder told me he gave up his very favorite food – pizza – for Lent. He usually eats it once a week at school and once a week at home, he said, so this is hard. In fact, he hopes the Easter Bunny hides a tiny pizza inside a plastic egg for him, he said with a laugh.
Then his tone turned serious when explaining just how important making a sacrifice is.
“Jesus died for us,” he said. “We have to do something little at least.”
The students I spoke with gave up everything from meat, soda, snacks, sweets and candy to television and electronics.
First-grader Kalli Scott parted with her iPad on Ash Wednesday, when Lent started, and won’t get it back until Easter.
“My mom told me to give it up because I play with it all day every day,” she said, smiling. “I thought it was a bad idea.”
She sheepishly admitted that she didn’t quite understand what Lent was all about. Her classmates tried to help her out.
Second-grader Natalie Weber said Lent is about being more like Jesus, and he gave up food and water in the desert for 40 days. Any other sacrifices have to be easier than that.
“But how did he give up food and water for 40 days?” Kalli asked. “Wouldn’t he die?”
Natalie shrugged her shoulders and said, “It was a miracle.”
Some students opted to add something to their lives this Lent instead of taking something away.
Sixth-grader Patrick Bath committed himself to learning about three new saints each day. His favorite so far is St. Augustine, who “totally turned his life around.” His mother, Saint Monica, prayed so hard for her son to convert to Catholicism, Patrick said.
His ultimate goal is to live more like them.
“I’m trying to set an example for others and model my life more around what they did,” he said.
Sixth-grader Abby Kanable gave up her electronics so she’d have more time to do things that would bring her closer to God – things she never did when she had the temptations of iPods and iPads at her fingertips.
“I didn’t spend that much time with my family or praying,” she said.
Besides, she said, there were no cellphones and tablets when Jesus walked the earth.
Mandy Smith, assistant principal at the school, told the kids that every student’s Lenten sacrifice is special.
“It doesn’t matter what you give up,” she said. “What matters is why you give it up.”
She used to drink 64 ounces of coke each day. She drank so much that the priests would make fun of her for it.
She decided to give it up for Lent. The $10 or $15 a week she’s saving is being donated to the church or used to help students in need at the school.
And every time she thinks about drinking a coke, she says a prayer for someone in need. Sometimes it’s a prayer for St. Patrick Church’s sister parish in Haiti, where the people are too poor to even buy a coke.
They’re getting a lot of prayers, she said.
“Every day I think about wanting a coke, more than once a day,” she said, with a laugh.
— Lindsey Ziliak
[friday] editor/ lifetime Catholic