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.