Russell Shaw writes about the correct way to approach Lenten sacrifices: you can’t give up what you don’t possess; you must offer up what you value.
With Ash Wednesday fast approaching, Catholics of a certain vintage and temperament are likely to be asking themselves a familiar question: What should I give up for Lent? In these supposedly enlightened times, however, others are skeptical of the whole idea of “giving up.” Keep Lent, they say, by doing something positive.
To do something positive for Lent is certainly a good idea. But so is giving something up. In one of his Anglican Sermons, Cardinal Newman makes the case for the latter clearly and forcefully. It goes like this: “Self-denial of some kind or other is involved, as is evident, in the very notion of renewal and holy obedience. To change our hearts is to learn to love things which we do not naturally love – to unlearn the love of this world; but this involves, of course, a thwarting of our natural wishes and tastes.”
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Source: Give It Up – The Catholic Thing