The Sacrifice of Words

In the Gospel, we are told by Jesus of the importance of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as well as the proper way to participate in those sacrifices. When we pray, fast, and give alms, we should do so not to gain praise from those around us, but rather for the sake of praising God. The intention of our sacrifice should be to honor our Lord in Heaven so that “your Father who sees you in secret will repay you”. 

During this season of Lent we are called to enter into fasting, prayer, and almsgiving in a more profound way than during other seasons of the year. In the weeks leading up to the start of Lent, today, I saw a lot of reflections, journals, and calendars advertising “how to make your Lent more meaningful/sacrificial/powerful”. These resources are all encouraging people to go deeper than just abstaining from meat on Fridays and giving up coffee or chocolate or social media. In fact, this year I noticed a common theme: changing our language so it better reflects the love of Christ. That has really stuck with me; how can changes in the way we speak and what we say be sacrifices? We can abstain from gossip. We can give up the tendency to say the first thing that comes to mind and more intentionally think before we speak. We can fast from swearing. We can ask others to join us in prayer before meals. We can humbly ask others to pray for us. 

I think the most powerful thing we can do this Lent is be joyful through our sacrifice. That is at the heart of what Jesus tells His disciples. May we be joyful in our sacrifice and in our words so that others may see the mercy and love of Christ through us. May we spend this Lent with the words “Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned” readily in our hearts and minds.

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at

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