- "Let's give up looking for a pat on the back. This Lent, let's do at least one thing each day for someone who will never be able to repay us. When we get good at that, we can try doing something each day for someone who will never be able to thank us."
- "Let's give up trying to be comfortable all the time. Instead of seeking comfort, let's find something to be enthusiastic about and put God's gifts -- our brains, our talents, our resources -- to work on behalf of that activity, organization, or program."
- "Let's give up trying to one-up others. There's a Hindu proverb that goes like this: 'There is nothing noble in being superior to others. True nobility comes from being superior to your previous self.' Let's find something we can improve about us."
A few more examples:
- "Let's give up taking care of No. 1. Instead of thinking about how everything and anything impacts us, let's worry first about how others are going to be affected -- by proposed new laws, by policies, by trends, by economic shifts -- by our own actions and behaviors."
- "Let's give up being practical... Let's give up being in a hurry... Let's not argue over small things... Let's not be crabby..."
In the same vein, "giving up trying to be comfortable" is merely a simplistic gloss on what we Catholics term "mortification of the flesh". (That's why we give up stupid things like candy and dessert during Lent -- not because they're bad in and of themselves, but because we set aside one good for the sake of attaining the Good.) Patience and humility require a more radical realignment of our lives toward the divine than "Let's not be crabby" or "Let's give up taking care of No. 1".
Want to make Lent seem irrelevant and meaningless? Unmoor the idea of Lenten sacrifice from the rich vocabulary of virtue. That's the way to make Lent seem onerous and antiquated to any "modern Catholic".