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WHY | Lent

March 2, 2020

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Struggling to decide what to do for Lent? Is it okay to give up the same thing each year? Fr. Dave Tomaszycki offers advice on Lenten penances.


So there was a man one time who’d go to the bar every single evening and he’d order three beers. And he did this for months and eventually the bartender asked him, “Oh, why do you always so deliberately order three beers?” And he said, ” Oh, one for me and one for each of my two brothers who can’t be here with me, but I still drink for them, that way they’re kind of here in spirit.” “Oh! Great, okay. Cool.” So the months go by, he does this every single day, and then one day, he walks in and he orders just two beers. And the bartender looks and he says, “Hey, is everything okay with your brothers?” “Yeah, why?” “Well you only ordered two beers.” “Oh yes, I gave up drinking for Lent.” Okay, that’s the wrong way to live Lent. Honestly, you want something that kind of hurts, but not too much. ‘Cause I remember when I was in seminary here at Sacred Heart, one of the priests talked about, like, how big is your heart? Okay, it’s only so big. How big is God’s love for you? It’s way bigger than my heart. So we need to stretch out our hearts and always hurt just to receive the love of God and receive more of God’s love. Okay, so then the second part of the question: is it okay to make the same resolutions every year? Yes. So I love pop. Oh, I love pop, to a fault! I love pop. I give up pop every Lent, and for me, it’s not one of those things where, “Oh, you give it up, you forgot you gave it up.” No, I do not forget that I gave it up. So it’s a constant reminder every single day, “Oh yes, it’s Lent. Yes, I’m giving something up for the Lord.” And in a sense we’re kind of starving our hearts of other things, and refocusing them, recalibrating them, so to speak, on the Lord.

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