What Difference Does Lent Make?

What is the point of giving things up for Lent? Of soul searching? Of taking more time to pray or meditate?

We've been focusing on some of the "tools" used during Lent to assist us in introspection about ourselves and our part in the global and universal good. These tools include giving things up, meditation, and a fearless moral inventory. But really, why does it matter? Can one person really make a difference in this world? You may be thinking, "Sure, if you are Mother Teresa or a world leader, or very rich, or someone really important, but just the average person? Nah." Well, I disagree.

There have been a few people in my life who had a tremendously positive influence. I'm sure you can think of a few in your own life. Sometimes I think about how my life might have gone if I had not had those people in my life, or if they had not been the positive and loving influences they've been, and I think I can say with confidence that the world would have been a very different place if those people had not interacted with me the way they did.

It's like a ripple effect in a still pond. If you toss a pebble in the middle of the pond, no matter how small the pebble, you'll see rings ripple out all across the surface of the pond. Fish are darting, tiny single-celled creatures are activated. Maybe one of those fish that darts away from the disturbance of the ripple sees an insect on the surface of the pond and eats it. (The insect's life is forever changed!) Maybe the insect is a mosquito. Since it was eaten, maybe it never bites the man standing by the pond. Maybe the mosquito carries West Nile virus. Since it never bites the man he doesn't get sick.

One person can and does make a difference in the life of others. We don't always know how or what we do, but what we do matters. That's why it's so important to take an inventory of who we are and how we act with others, and to strive to be the best we can be all the time.

That's why it's so important to keep a "holy Lent" where you give sincere and conscious effort to becoming the loving member of this world that God wants. You just never know.