It was the headline that first attracted me: “How to save £1,000 this Lent: Experts reveal how quitting coffee, cigarettes and chocolate could help you put aside enough to buy a designer handbag”
This was the start of an article in one of our newspapers this week which proceeded to quote a money saving company which had added up the savings that you could make by giving up meat, takeaways and caffeine during the six weeks of Lent.
They concluded that if you went vegetarian during Lent you could save as much as £353. If you gave up alcohol you could save £157 and if you managed to avoid having to purchase your morning coffee on the way to work you could save up to £92.
The article managed the feat of being able to talk about Lent without once mentioning Jesus or Christianity! Sadly this is the perception that many people have of Lent, that it’s only about giving up things that are bad for you. But for us as Catholics Lent should be above all a time of spiritual renewal. As Jesus says in the gospel that is read on Ash Wednesday: “When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do.”
During Lent we don’t make Lenten resolutions to save money or to make us miserable. Instead all that we do during Lent should be aiming towards a deeper faith, not saving up for a designer handbag!