“What are you giving up for Lent?” my friend queried after we downed two shrove Tuesday donuts.
Ah, the “giving up” thing. It was so easy as a child. Giving up chocolate or fighting with my siblings were, to my six year old mind, great sacrifices. I could confidently and boldly pronounce my full-hearted commitment to achieving 40 days of chocolate abstinence and saintly adoration of my brother, and there was no downside. If I achieved my plan, my parents would know I was the saint, my brother was not, and I’d be rewarded with a basket of Easter chocolate and parental appreciation for how special I was.
As an adult, though, the sacrificial dimension of Lent becomes a little more complicated. Does my sacrifice truly reflect a penitential heart? How could my giving up sweets begin to compare with Jesus’ sacrifice?
My husband suggested giving up social media. It would give me more time for prayer, and limit the near occasion of sin I encounter viewing questionable images, music, and words from attention-seeking posts. This would be difficult. Could I give up the dopamine-drenched social media and iPhone app cult? No Clubhouse, no Twitter, no Snapchat. Give me another donut to soothe my squirming soul!
After reflection and prayer, I decided this would be my Lenten abstinence practice. No social media. Then it snowed, and then…it snowed more, and…some more, followed by additional snow.
Long snowy days locked in the house with computers, iPhones, and televisions. Oh, my. Temptation was everywhere.
Then it dawned on me. While social media is out of the question, a good movie or two could strengthen my Lenten experience. Movies that inspire contemplation about the themes of the season and spark wholesome conversations. Instead of social media gossip and endless news, I could watch movies that tell the story leading up to and including the Good News of Jesus.
Here is a list of movies I plan to watch during Lent:
- Week 1: Into Great Silence
- Week 2: The Face: Jesus in Art
- Week 3: Diary of a Country Priest.
- Week 4: The Flowers of St. Francis
- Week 5: The Passion of Joan of Arc
- Holy Week: The Miracle Maker
What are you giving up for Lent? Hopefully not movies.