Lent: A Time for Spiritual and Personal Growth

RENO, NV - Soda, fast food, Facebook--for many of us, at least one of these things is a daily essential. Many people on Wednesday are choosing to give up what they love most. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a time for spiritual and even personal growth, but these days many people who are not at all religious are taking part.

Folks lining up, ready to display their faith on their foreheads, ready to get marked with ash.

"It is a time for spiritual renewal to hopefully rise to new spiritual levels," Father Norman King from Immaculate Conception said.

However, it's not just Catholics choosing to sacrifice for 40 days; others are also foregoing their bad habits and guilty pleasures.

"I'm giving up elevators so you have to just walk up the stairs for a month and a half," said Jamie Angeles, a Nevada student.

"Soda, alcohol, juice, everything. It's going to be hard for spring break, but I can do it. 40 days, I can do it," said Alexis Neel.

The idea is to test your limits and grow from your sacrifices, developing self-discipline and self-worth.

"I am not Catholic; that's why it's more about will power than religion to me," Neel said.

Removing luxuries in your life balances out your diet and your wallet. Giving up fast food for six weeks can save you about $270, whereas if you're a pack-a-day smoker, kicking the habit for 40 days can save you nearly $240.

"The possibility is that if they can give up candy, self denial, hopefully then that can translate into being strong giving up temptations to sin," Fr. King said.

While it won't be easy, making a small sacrifice can help you out in the long run.

'It's good to give up something you love a lot just to prove to yourself you can and that you're not addicted to it," Angeles said.

Lent isn't just about sacrificing something; you can also add something to your life, like service. Lent began Wednesday and ends Easter Sunday.


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