Today, Catholics mark the beginning of the Lenten season with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. We recognize our sin, our mortality and our need for a Savior. As the priest places ashes on our foreheads we are reminded, “You are dust, and unto dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). It is a time for repentance as we begin the observance of Lent.
Even though the occasion is solemn and humbling, it reminds me I am dearly loved by God. That he would love me, a sinner, and send his Son to be a sacrifice for my sin—how remarkable! Jesus’ self sacrifice paid a debt I could have never paid myself.
A meaningful gift doesn’t come without sacrifice from the giver. Just as God the Father sacrificed his own Son to save our souls; we should make sacrifices for others. Lent gives us 40 days to make small sacrifices–and we will be giving up things like coffee, sweets or even social networking to refocus and prepare our hearts for Easter.
What if our small “sacrifices” could actually make a difference in someone’s life? If I give up a $4 cup of coffee or tea once a day during the period of Lent, I would save almost $150! Did you know $150 can send a poor child to school for one year in Kenya and Peru? Or give access to clean water for villagers in Nicaragua? Or provide 5,000 meals for malnourished people around the world?
Sacrifice changes lives! On a cross over 2,000 years ago, a perfect Sacrifice changed mine. So, what about you? What are you going to give up for Lent? Or maybe a better question is: how are you going to change a life?