How was your Lent challenge?
5 April 2018
The forty days and nights of Lent are over and so are our Lent challenges. How was yours? Did you stick to your pledges? Did your challenge change your relationship with God or those around you? Our featured Lent challengers answer these questions and more.
Lent has ended but the UK Government will continue to double donations to our Lent Appeal until 12 May.
Susy’s vegan Lent inspires a lifestyle change
Before Lent Susy was a vegetarian. Six weeks later she’s decided to be vegan. Most of the time…
Susy says, “I would like to continue to be vegan most, if not all, of the time, but I need to work out what nutrients I need and how I will include them in my diet.”
Going vegan for Lent has had a bigger impact on how Susy sees the world than she was expecting: “I was thinking that I can’t understand how anyone who calls themselves a Christian can continue consuming large amounts of meat. Then I thought, ‘Oh, I am being rather judgmental’! But after my challenge I do feel a lot more strongly about not supporting modes of consumption which use animals and treat them cruelly just for our own wants.”
Can you help Susy maintain her (mostly) vegan lifestyle? Watch her vegan lunch vlog and leave your favourite vegan recipe in the comments.
God challenged Amy to dig deeper during her Lent challenge
Amy gave up swearing for Lent. At first she found it difficult to change her habits. But she asked God to help her with her Lent challenge and He gave her strength.
Amy says, "I can honestly say God has drawn me closer through this journey of Lent, even during the moments when I have struggled with the challenge. Each week I learned something new and was challenged by God to dig deeper which was wonderful."
Amy's greatest struggle came not at the beginning of her challenge but about half way through when she says she started to feel that she was in control of her challenge by herself. "I had become complacent to the challenge and I had taken my eyes of Jesus.
"So whereas my Lent challenge could have finished off course, with me feeling well and truly pleased with myself, it did in fact finish with new humility and my eyes being directed back to the cross."
If you gave up swearing for Lent and put money in a jar when you slipped up you can donate your contribution to the CAFOD Lent Appeal
Watch Amy's final Lent challenge vlog:
Did Ooberfuse stick to their difficult Lent challenge of 40 days without chocolate or hot food?
Hal and Cherrie from London based east-meets-west electronic pop group Ooberfuse took on an unusual Lent challenge. Hal gave up all hot food and hot drinks and Cherrie, a self-declared chocoholic, gave up all foods starting with Ch, including chocolate!
Hal found his challenge particularly difficult because of the extreme cold weather we suffered this year during Lent. But it was an interesting experience. He says, "I learnt a lot about taming my appetite. Being put in the position of having to transcend cravings for ordinary things has extraordinary consequences. After Lent I feel I have an increased awareness of myself as a spiritual being."
Cherrie's challenge inspired her to try healthier sweet treats like fresh fruit. She also found that her challenge was a great way to spread the word about CAFOD during Lent. She says, “I am very happy to go back to eating chocolate but I still want to continue helping raise awareness of the importance of standing beside people living in poverty”.
Did you save money by denying yourself treats during Lent? Donate the money you saved to the CAFOD Lent Appeal
Julia’s plastic challenge helped her to reflect on the glory of God
Julia gave up buying single use plastic for Lent. It was a very practical challenge, but Julia used it as an opportunity for spiritual reflection too:
“My Lent challenge helped me reflect a lot more on the glory of God. He created this beautiful world we live in and it's perfectly balanced apart from the way humanity uses it. Each of us has to do a little to solve the problems we've created. I really spent this Lent thanking God for this opportunity to appreciate his creation more.”
As well as the frustrations of not being able to buy certain products, Julia also struggled with repeating the same discussion. “Many people said to me, ‘but I recycle my plastics so why does it matter if I buy them?’ So, I ended up explaining about the whole process of recycling and making plastic in the first place to more people than I ever have in my life.
"For me, not using plastic is all a part of living simply and not being part of a culture of waste.”
Watch Julia’s tips for a simpler and less wasteful life, including alternatives to plastic straws!
Did your Lent challenge help you save money? Donate your savings to the Lent Appeal and your donation will be doubled by the UK Government.
Switching off and slowing down during Lent
Father Tim Byron from Stamford Hill took a digital detox and gave up Netflix for Lent.
After the first week he felt he wanted to make his challenge bigger than just not watching Netflix. He wanted to go through a technology detox. He reduced the use of his laptop to his office and made his bedroom a laptop free zone.
All these changes freed time he started using in different ways. “I found myself writing more letters and cards rather than emails, reading a bit more and approaching my evening prayers and the examen a bit more slowly”.
He found his Lent challenge to be a helpful experiment with unexpected changes. “My biggest surprise was to find myself spending more time with some of the guys of the community, enjoying a cup of coffee after dinner and not rushing off to do something else”.
How hard was it for Jeremy to give up shopping?
You might think that giving up shopping for yourself would be difficult. But Jeremy says, “To be honest, I found stopping shopping quite easy. On the whole, I didn’t really miss it.”
Although he gave away some of his old clothes Jeremy has finished his challenge wondering about its long-term impact.
He says, “Maybe I should have been more radical. Peter Maurin, who founded the Catholic Worker movement along with Dorothy Day, reputedly would give away his possessions to anyone he felt needed them. It’s possible that this is what we need to do to truly find joy. But I’m not ready for that and perhaps, God’s not calling me there.”
During Lent Jeremy showed us some of the wonderful, colourful clothes he decided not to give away when he took part in the Dress a Dad Day fundraiser for CAFOD’s Lent Appeal.