The Catholic Letter

Seasonal Subjects

What to do During Lent

“The Truth Will Set You Free.”

This statement doesn’t mean much until two stemming questions are answered…what is truth and what is freedom.


Before discussing what truth is, we sometimes have to establish that there really is a truth. One outside ourselves…separate from how we perceive it. And this very point seems hardest for some people to accept. Now I could do the subject no justice here, in the constraints of this tiny article. I would point anyone struggling with the realities of reality to such great philosophical masters as Saint Thomas Aquinas and GK Chesterton.

Truth is whatever exists outside our perceptions. It is the condition of something without the opinions or beliefs of others. For those who can admit to this, I wish only to point out one thing. That truth is usually hard to accept. Because truth isn’t edited for believability.

Truth is what it is, regardless of people’s ability (or willingness) to accept it. It has no author, nor is it subject to trends. Lies, on the other hand, are just the opposite. A lie has an author, and it revolves around another person’s willingness to accept it. It doesn’t even have to be believable (as in the case of evolution), so long as people are inclined in some other way to believe it.


Freedom is “a state in which somebody is able to act and live as he or she chooses, without being subject to any, or to any undue, restraints and restrictions.” (Encarta Dictionary).

But when Jesus said it, he was talking about a different kind of freedom. This freedom is the ability to act on one’s will instead of blindly obeying one’s desire. Such a freedom can only be appreciated by those who experience it. Imagine being hungry, but still being full. Thirsty without wanting for drink. Imagine finding patience for those who irritate us.


This is real freedom…and it’s what lent is all about. Not so much in suffering, but in seeing the truth. Where we normally find freedom through the truth, during lent we find the truth by breaking free.

We might have once thought coffee was an essential part of mornings, but by giving it up for lent, we begin to appreciate it as a gift from God. We might see our spouse as irritating, but by refraining from arguing during let, we rediscover the purpose of marriage and begin to see our spouse as another stepping stone to heaven.

What should you give up for lent? Whatever it is that’s holding you back. Whatever keeps you enslaved. Because when the chains are gone, you’ll be able to remove the blindfold, and see the truth.