On Wednesday, Christians around the world celebrated Ash Wednesday, a day that marks the beginning of the Lenten season. The Baylor and Waco communities joined, holding services at Elliston Chapel and at various Catholic Churches around town. Lent is an important season not only for traditional Catholics, but for Christians of all denominations.
Students of all disciplines give up things during this season. McGregor sophomore Sarah O’Connor said she plans to give up sweets, because she eats candy almost every night and it will be difficult for her to abstain. O’Connor and many Protestants like her participate in Lent to mimic Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the Cross.
“My parents are both Catholic but I made the choice growing up to be Baptist,” O’Connor said. “I think it’s important to still participate in Lent to symbolize the sacrifice that Christ sacrificed for us.”
At St. Peter’s Student Center, masses were held hourly, with an opportunity to receive ashes at the end of the service. The imposition of ashes symbolizes the dust and ashes of the deceased, and reminds believers of Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins.
Grapevine sophomore Kevin Dooley said that even though one may stand out with ashes on their forehead, it’s a great reminder of the commitment a person is about to make.
“Lent is about removing aspects of your life that deter and pull you away from God. It’s through my struggles that I can find God and strengthen my relationship with him,” Dooley said.
The season helps Christians refresh and renew their commitments to God by letting go of earthly possessions or deterrents that may be taking precedence over Christ in their lives. Christians work individually on their own personal vices, striving to lean on God in times of need. Instead of reaching for their earthly vice, Christians seek constant prayer to help them remain untempted.
“Sometimes people think that they can just give up anything, but in this time you are suppose to give up something that truly hinders your relationship with God,” Dooley said. “You want to be challenged in your faith.”
Alongside turning away from earthly possessions, Christians seek God more than ever during this 40-day season. Many find themselves yearning more for times of prayer, seeking Bible studies or making commitments to attend church more than they typically would.
Houston junior Paige Thumann said she is giving up fast food and soda, which can be big vices for college students. She is also going to read her devotional, “Jesus Calling”, daily and she wants to run 80 miles throughout the Lenten season.
“Setting this goal of running is needed for me, because it gives me time to reflect and be more focused,” Thumann said. “It helps me get out of my head and my daily routine and focus on my faith more.”
“No matter what sect of Christianity you fall under, we can all make sacrifices for the better,” Dooley said.