Young people tell CN reporter Joseph Lee what the season means to them

Renewing my relationship with God

Bryan James Francisco, 21, St Anne’s Church: Lent to me is a time when we can truly reflect and renew our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

The world we live in now is so filled with sin that people tend to put little priority on their faith but this is the perfect season to really put that right!
But it shouldn’t be seen as a periodic pause of that particular action (no alcohol for 40 days because of Lent only to return to it after). Lent is a time when the Evil One will be extra hard at work to try and tempt us into sinning. So in order to counter that, I’ll commit to attending daily Mass because it is only through the Eucharist and the reminder that God is my stronghold that I can overcome the devil!

Giving up on social media

Amanda Tan, 22, Church of St Mary of the Angels: To me, Lent is a time for us to repent, fast and to prepare our hearts for the coming of our Heavenly Father. Through these acts, we are acknowledging that we are here, wanting to rebuild and restore our relationship with Him. Thus, the three main pillars of Lent are: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

For this Lent, I have decided to give up on social media – a platform which is a double-edged sword, social media being a platform for us to “catch up” on the lives of our friends. However, the time taken to scroll through and read every post can be used in other aspects. Hence, in this case, I have used my additional time to attend week day Masses and adoration sessions.

Moving forward, I do hope that this change will not stop once Lent is over, because such change should not be a temporary activity.

Growing closer to Mother Mary

Adel Amelia Desmond, 25, Church of the Holy Spirit: Lent is a time of renewing my faith, and growing closer to Christ. It is a change of lifestyle, habits and practices. Lent is also a time of forgiveness and repentance. To let go of self and to listen to God in prayer. A time of love, by being present to the needs of others around me. Practising humility and service in all that I do, such as allowing others to board the bus first.

In these days of Lent, I aspire to grow closer to Mother Mary, in her obedience and love in saying “yes” to God. I intend to fast from watching television to watching spiritual videos and movies and to spend time in solitude with God in nature.

A chance to reflect on my life

Elizabeth Goh, 23, Church of the Holy Family: To me, Lent is a time of repentance. It is a time for me to reflect on my life, especially my journey with God, to identify my areas of sin and to turn back to Him. It also helps me purify my mind and my heart as we prepare for the most important celebration in the Church – Easter.

Lent is typically associated with prayer, fasting and almsgiving. I usually try to fast from something, but this year I am challenging myself to give more of myself and my time in prayer. Thus, I am setting aside time
every day to reflect on Scripture, to draw/paint the verse and to share it on Instagram. It is challenging sometimes because I am shy or afraid of what others might think, but I’m hoping this Lenten journey will also give me more courage to share my faith with others.

Waking earlier to pray

Leonard Teo, 21, Church of St Ignatius: Lent is a time for me to be “weak”, Fr Jude said it is a time when you’re supposed to feel weak and that is when you cling to Jesus the most. It’s a time to continue my growth and relationship with the Lord.

I am going to give up on sleep, to wake up earlier and pray the Divine Office and end the night with Compline.

I tend to act very instinctively on my emotions and follow my heart. But this Lent, I am going to actively detach myself from emotions and step back and focus on God in my friendships.

Sacrificing my comfort food

Tricia Chua, 19, Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace: What does Lent mean to me? When I was young, it was more the anticipation of Easter. However, as years went by, I realised that Lent is a chance for me to go back to God. At a certain age when I realised that there would be no Easter without Jesus’s death, and Jesus died for our sins, I felt unworthy.

The only way I could think of to reciprocate God’s gift to us is by doing what He did for us: To love. By love I mean not only loving God, the people around us, but also the poor and my enemies.

For me, what I am trying to do this Lent is to sacrifice my comfort food and also to abstain from meat. It’s a challenge for me to remember that I am fasting to have a feel of what hunger means to the poor and to be able to give what little I can save to them.

Fasting twice a week

Matius Josiah Abraham, 19, Church of St Bernadette: Lent, to me, had always been portrayed as this period of dryness, where I feel restricted about certain activities and hobbies I love to do. However this year after a homily, my perspective of Lent changed. I realise that giving up certain actions cultivates a positive change in me.

This year, I opted to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, together with a 40-day abstinence plan. From this, I realised that overcoming the temptations allows me to strengthen my discipline. This bears fruits in other areas – managing my temper, which I used to find difficult to control now seems easier. There is also this longing to be more filial to my parents.

Lent does not seem that bad after all. It is in fact, a life-changing retreat when one is renewed as a person and a child of God.

A time of sacrifice, prayer

Miguel Nartates Garcia, 18, Church of St Francis of Assisi: Lent to me is a time change, a time to sacrifice and a time to pray. This Lent, I am going to fast from drinking any coloured and sweet drinks, especially caffeinated ones. At the same time I will sacrifice my time for God, going for adoration at least once a week to pray and reflect to make this Lent a fruitful one.

I will also try to do some good deeds such as doing chores at home and serving in a youth community as a graphic designer, designing posters for Lent.