What If You Don’t Do Anything for Lent?

We’re just over the halfway point of Lent, and hopefully it’s been a fruitful season so far! But maybe you’re someone who just hasn’t gotten into Lent this year. Maybe you planned to do something, but didn’t act on those plans. Or you simply decided that the past year involved enough sacrifice, so you didn’t need to do anything.

That was the case for a listener named Linda who called-in to The Patrick Madrid Show recently. She told Patrick that she knows some people, including herself, who haven’t been doing anything for Lent. But she still had questions.

She asked Patrick, “What happens if you don’t give up anything for Lent and you don’t really do anything? Do you miss out on a blessing or an indulgence?”

“Yeah, you do,” Patrick told her. “You miss out on the spiritual blessings that come with getting your will more tense.”

Though strictly speaking the Church does not require you to give something up for Lent, it is traditionally a way for Catholics to do penance and strengthen their will. This allows us to better focus on the Lord, remember our dependence on Him for all things, and enable us to do the will of God in our lives.

“Let me put it this way,” Patrick told Linda. “If you’re walking into a building, there’s an escalator on one side and stairs on the other. If you only take the escalator you’re missing out on the health benefits of getting your blood pumping, working your heart, and all of the aerobic benefits that accrue to you.”

Giving something up or taking something on for Lent is like choosing to take the stairs. You gain lots of spiritual benefits you simply don’t get if you choose to do nothing. If you don’t do something extra for Lent you’re not doing anything sinful, but you are certainly missing out.

The good news is it’s not too late to make this Lent more meaningful! Father Rocky’s Lenten Lessons on the Mass are a great way to grow in your faith, reconnect with the Mass, and renew your love of Christ in the greatest sacrament. You can catch up on previous Lessons in our Lenten Lessons Library, or simply sign-up and get new Lenten Lessons sent to your inbox each morning!


Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.