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BEFORE THE CROSS | Lenten discipline counteracts belief that our desires define us

Lent begins this week. What's your plan?

Sometimes our Lenten disciplines feel pretty random. We give up chocolate, or beer, or whatever — not because of any intrinsic value in them, but just because we feel like we should give something up. The apparent randomness can become an argument — sometimes from others, sometimes in our own minds — against keeping up the discipline. Does it really matter?

I'm all for well-chosen Lenten disciplines. But even apparently random disciplines have tremendous value for ourselves and our world, and we should hold fast to them.

Why?

Our community shares their time-honored traditions for Lent

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Lent, a season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, is the pathway toward Easter and Christ's victory over death. This year, Ash Wednesday falls on Feb. 14, and Easter Sunday is April 1.

We posed the question on social media: What are your time-honored Lenten practices? Here's what you had to say.

Make a list of 40 people to pray for. Dedicate 40 minutes a day to pray for one person each day. Or choose one person for whom to pray for 40 minutes a day for all 40 days.

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