All-Inclusive Benefits of Lent

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Modern-day Lent has prompted even non-religious individuals to make lifestyle changes and achieve personal goals during the 40 day fasting period.

By Gabrielle Vacher

This Thursday 16th April will mark the close of Lent 2014*, a religious observance traditionally practiced by Christians who recognise and reflect on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

For many, however, Lent serves as an incentive to transform and improve their life over the 40-day period.

No Chocolate

Sacrifice: Giving up chocolate for Lent, a 40 day preparation for Easter.
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Vet student Emily Pucciarmati has decided to give up fast food for the benefit of her health, and her bank account.

“I hated the way fast food made me feel, and I always regretted eating it,” Emily says.

“It really is too easy to buy, especially when you’re surrounded by Uni students who want to do those sneaky late night takeaway runs!

“Surprisingly, I haven’t found it difficult at all, and I haven’t cheated once.

“It takes 21 days to make a habit and the Lent period has made a non-fast food diet achievable for me! I’m pretty proud of myself.”

Emma Barbagallo, a Speech Pathology student and resident at George Roberts College, has chosen to walk to class instead of driving.

“It seemed like a good idea to do a bit of walking for exercise,” Emma says.

“I have cheated on days where I’ve had to see clients at Uni, although only because I’ve had a lot of things to take with me. Plus, it’s been difficult when I’m running late, or if it’s raining.

“I would really like to try to maintain the habit even after Lent finishes next week, although sometimes it really is easier to drive.”

Engineering student Caitlin Aguirre is sacrificing chocolate over the 40-day period.

“There is no Christian reason behind my decision. I just want to challenge myself,” Caitlin says.

Duchesne College in Brisbane intend to benefit others through their combined choice to give up ice-cream.

“My entire college has stopped eating ice cream,” Genevieve says.

“Admittedly, it’s killing me! But the money we save will be donated to a charity, so it is for a good cause.”

Catholic School Student Gabriella Dal Santo has an alternative outlook toward Lent.

“I tried giving up cake, which then led to giving up only chocolate cake, which even then I blew under the stress of school exams!” Gabriella says.

“To me, it’s the thought that counts. Even failing to fully replicate the hardship Jesus Christ faced during the 40 days he spent in the desert is still a way to recognise the pain and suffering he faced.”

Regardless of whether an individual practices Lent for religious reasons or for the shear benefit of improving their life, the 40-day fasting period clearly helps us to become more spiritually mindful with the bonus of eliminating a couple of bad habits at the same time.


*Following the liturgical abbreviations of the Second Vatican Council in the Roman Catholic Church, Lent, in the Catholic Church, is now taken to end on Maundy Thursday rather than Easter Eve, and hence lasts 38 days excluding Sundays, or 44 days in total.