BBC Radio Leicester

Thought for the Day

© John Denney 1 March 2006


Give up: donít give up!


Mardi Gras has been celebrated in New Orleans.It was a really big bash by all accounts, but then Fat Tuesday has always been an important landmark in New Orleans life, and Hurricane Katrina couldnít be allowed to spoil the party. So there was a big parade, with bands and girls in pretty costumes and dancing in the streets.Of course, we English (steady on there, chaps!) confine ourselves to scoffing a few pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and hardly any Morris dancing.


And today, itís Ash Wednesday.The festivities and feasting are over and the frugal season of Lent is on us.In days of yore, everyone abstained from eating meat during the forty days of Lent, and the really keen ones put themselves through some form of penance as well.These days, itís not fashionable to starve yourself unless youíre a supermodel, so those that take Lent seriously usually just give up some luxury food for the forty days Ė you know, chocolate or wine.And as for penance Ė well, hair shirts are out of fashion.Not watching telly on one night in the week is reckoned to be about as much pain as a body can bear these days.


Lent is supposed to be a re-enactment of Jesusí forty-day trip into the desert, where He overcame all sorts of temptations. So itís no good treating Lent like an opportunity to lose a few inches from the waistline; youíve missed the point if thatís your reason to deprive yourself.The purpose is to prove to yourself that youíre not a slave to anything in your life by giving it up for forty days. If you can do that, youíre master Ė or mistress Ė of your true self.Letís not give up giving up!