This year’s Lent season began on February 13, 2013. Traditionally, many of us honor Lent by making a sacrifice of some sort, abstaining from something, fasting, or removing something that we will miss during the 46 days leading up to Easter. Ideally, the commitments that we make in honor of Lent are made with self-improvement in mind, as we look within ourselves and discover what we may do to better ourselves and our lives as a whole.
As I was doing some reading regarding spiritually and Lent, I came across a very interesting article that suggested an alternative approach to this time of year. The article, written by a certain Reverend James Martin, suggested that those who acknowledge the Lenten season should abstain from abstinence this year and instead celebrate a positive Lent. By this, he means, do something!
More specifically, followers are encouraged to practice a “positive” Lent rather than a “negative” one. Rather than emphasizing sacrifice and abstinence, the Reverend suggests that we take the time to add something positive into our lives, do something good. As he states with simplicity, celebrate a positive Lent this year by taking the time to “bother to love”. Instead of giving up behaviors or habits that you are trying to kick anyway, why not focus on doing something positive for yourself, or perhaps more importantly, for others? Call that friend that has been on your mind. Reach out to someone in need. Donate your time to something you feel passionate about. Engage in a random act of kindness. Spend the day with your children or a loved one. Allow yourself some much-needed quiet-time. Just do something that is good. Bother to show your love.
Reverend James quotes Jesus in the Gospel, saying “It is mercy I desire, not sacrifice.” So whether you are Christian or not, why not take the words of Jesus literally and bother to share the love that has filled your heart. Show compassion and mercy to those you encounter. Pay attention to your loved ones, and shower them with lovingkindness. Be kind to yourself, by embracing your own inherent goodness, and encourage others to do the same.
Whether you are open to the idea of a Positive Lent, you prefer a more traditional approach to the season, or you prefer not to celebrate this time of year at all, do consider taking a more “positive” approach to this time in your life. Consider the words of the Dalai Lama, “Kindness is my religion” and practice giving of yourself, rather than imposing limitations upon yourself. Take the opportunity that is this Lenten season, and invest your energies in doing something positive. Be kind. Do good. Bother to show your love.