Lent is a penitential season. We associate it with denying ourselves something. We often see it as a time for Confession as Easter gets closer. However, we should not compartmentalize the practices of self denial and confessing our sins. These should not be relegated to a month or so each year. The Church gives us this season as a way of getting us to integrate the value of mortification and the necessity of going to Confession throughout the year. We can kind of get in the habit of saying no to everything we want and of saying sorry to God.
Denying ourselves is a no brainer. We do it all the time. We turn off an entertaining show on TV because we have to go to bed in order to get up early the next day. We say no to buying desirable things because it doesn't fit the budget. The student will choose studying over playing because he wants a good grade. There are many more examples. So, we know how to abstemious. But, why not practice mortification for the good of our souls? Giving up that little bit of food or free time as a conscious sacrifice for God will strengthen the soul. Temptations to sinful things will be easier to combat. Moreover, uniting our little mortification with Our Lord's Cross is most pleasing to Him. By doing so we participate in His Redemption of the world. He lets us share in the saving of souls -- not just our own souls.