The Catholic observance of the Lenten season is one marked by the themes of sacrifice and absolution for sins. Those who actively practice Catholicism tend to mark their commitment to this 40-day period by giving up something or adding some sort of service activity to their daily lives. This extra challenge helps students focus on the reason behind the Lenten season; the season of preparation and sacrifice is supposed to mimic the suffering of Jesus Christ on a lesser scale.

For many Catholics, especially those on the younger side, a simple sacrifice of candy, soda or another form of junk food is often chosen. It’s not that much of a hassle though you still get to say that you’re participating. Many people eat vegetarian meals throughout the whole season as an extension of the no-meat-on-Fridays rule. Other people give up social media or gaming systems. The idea is that you give up something that you enjoy as a way to mark the solemnity of the season.

The sacrifice is something that seems a lot easier than it is. For example, giving up soda might change your lunch or dinner plans or that piece of chocolate might seem more tempting than usual. The commitment to going without is not easy, but it is do-able. It takes a solid effort to successfully complete that challenge.

Sometimes, fulfilling your sacrifice isn’t possible; you accidentally log on to Facebook, as you have a habit before you remember that you’ve given it up, or someone made brownies that are impossible to resist. It’s important to realize that one failure doesn’t mean that you’re a horrible person or that you have somehow failed your faith. You’re a human being and as such we’re flawed individuals who sometimes make mistakes. It happens. Take the time to reevaluate your situation and recommit if you think you can. If it were easy, everyone would do it. It’s not an easy choice.

The idea of sacrificing something as a celebration of the Lenten season isn’t supposed to be a punishment. It’s not a ban on something that someone else imposes upon you. You make the choice to abstain from something you like to show your dedication to your faith.

And the feeling you get after Lent is over and you can return to life as normal? Amazing.