She gave up reading history and fiction for Lent? That is what Lauren Winner has done. Does that even make any sense? Well, it does point up something I’ve always thought. If you give up something for Lent, it should be something you can go back to afterwards. Giving up a vice for Lent makes no sense to me. Giving up a vice forever is what makes sense.
But to give up a virtue for Lent…? I take reading books as a virtue, a rarer and rarer one as the years go by. I guess there are some things you could read that would be bad. But history and fiction seem to me to feed the spirit more than to diminish it.
I gave up coffee for Lent one year. You might think that coffee is a vice. But everybody around me suffered from my resulting foul mood more than I suffered. So I have come to see caffeine as–if not a virtue– a pre-condition for virtue. So don’t give up a virtue, or even a pre-condition for virtue.
Nevertheless, the link contains this, which is thought-provoking:
“The thing is, Lent isn’t a therapeutic self-improvement project,” she said. “We’re supposed to take a hard look at our sins and then repent. But how do we get to repentance if we have never truly paused to examine our lives? …
“Most of us are morally and spiritually sleepwalking. We need to wake up and see where we are and what we’re doing.”