Editor’s Note: Board member Sister Cathy Cahill, OSF, reflects on the comparison of letting go” during Lent versus “giving up” and the connotations that each phrase carries. 

My dear Aunt Marie, a 93 year old Sister of Mercy, loves to remind me of my announcement at the beginning of my eighth Lent that I was giving up Peppermint Patties. Everyone knew that as much as I might like candy, I did not like Peppermint Patties! Such was my spirit of sacrifice from an early age!

Today I find it more helpful to think more of “letting go” during Lent rather than “giving up”. Letting go leaves room for other things.  Letting go of complaining, judgement, gossip, and criticism leave room for gratitude, mercy, encouragement and praise.

Letting go of my tendency to take things for granted opens my heart up to deep gratefulness for what I have. And letting go of busyness leaves room for time for quiet reflection or a free moment to make a call to Aunt Marie. She will probably ask if I’ve given up Peppermint Patties this year.

Reflection Questions: What would happen if you “let go” of taking it for granted that you can read? So many of the world’s people cannot! Is there a practice in your life that you could let go of to make room for something else?
Sister Cathy Cahill, OSF, is an Franciscan Sister of Allegany who has served on the FMS since 2011. She finds interaction with the missioners and staff of Franciscan Mission Service a great encouragement about the future of the Church.
Featured image: adaptation of photo by Pixabay user Kapa65 – labeled for reuse