Priest inspires young Filipinos to go beyond ‘sacrifice’ during Lent

Traditional religious practices might be losing their hold on Filipinos, but there might still be hope among the young.

Apr 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines: Traditional religious practices might be losing their hold on Filipinos, but there might still be hope among the young.

Among the older generation, the Lenten season is a time for fasting and abstinence, not just for a week, but for the whole 40 days.

The passage of time, however, has challenged the practice and the tradition seems to have been broken.

It’s a bit surprising, therefore, that some young people these days are asking, “What are you giving up for Lent?”

The conversations happen among the so-called millennials who talk about giving up soda, saving up money, or even giving additional tips to delivery people and drivers.

Many are making an effort to stick to their no meat on Friday diet, while others swear to walk more every day.

Whatever their narrative, young Filipino Catholics are talking about “change” these days, and they are finding hope in what they described as a “redefinition of the concept of sacrifice.”

Fr Luis Lorenzo of the Legionaries of Christ congregation said there is a need to have fresh eyes to look into the practice of one’s faith.

“To be able to follow Jesus better, I have to love him more,” said Fr Lorenzo, who is only in his first year as a priest.

He said “conversion” comes at the end of all “sacrifices ... when Easter Sunday comes.”

“I will become a better person, but it doesn’t come now. It comes at the end of Jesus’ passion. That’s what Lent means,” he said, voicing what young people like him feel.

“One gives something up to follow Christ’s story of sacrifice,” he said, adding that “sacrifice” doesn’t mean inflicting pain on oneself.

“Sacrifice, because it’s going to help you love more,” said the priest, adding that Jesus suffered “not because he looked for the nails or the crown.... Jesus suffered because he loved.”

The priest said people’s “sacrifices” have evolved through the years, especially among the young.

He added, however, that instead of asking what to give up during Lent, one should ask if what one does makes one better.

“If it does, then don’t give that up. Do I offer coffee? Well, think about it. Does coffee make you a better person? Does it help you work better? If it does, then don’t give that up,” he added.

Today, Fr Lorenzo works with high school and college students as the director of Mission Youth Philippines.
His work includes offering young people the “opportunity to learn from the faith of the poor, and in turn, share their faith with them.”

“It gives everyone the opportunity to grow in compassion, charity and service towards one another,” said the priest.

In his interaction with young people, he would remind them to “transcend to others” and not to sacrifice but, instead, “serve better, love better, [and] take care of your neighbour.”

The priest hopes that young people will understand that Lent does not end on Good Friday, saying that “the beauty of the sacrifice of Jesus is seen when he rises again.” --ucanews.com

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