“It’s pretty much a constant state of itching,” said Rehm, Auburn philosophy graduate and practicing Catholic.
Rehm’s uncomfortable uniform is his personal way of observing Lent, the 46-day liturgical season leading up to Easter recognized by certain denominations of Christianity.
It’s a time of self-evaluation and spiritual growth for many believers, inspired by Jesus’ biblical 40day fast in the desert prior to his crucifixion.
Rehm said the discomfort keeps him mindful of pursuing Christ throughout his day.
He also recites extra prayers in his quest for a stronger relationship with God.
The constant reminder is the key to many Christians’ observance of Lent. It is tradition to forego a personal vice or adopt a new practice to devote time to one’s spiritual life.
Popular choices among college students include abstaining from drinking, using Facebook or hitting the snooze button.
Josie Fink, sophomore in English, gave up sweets this year.
“It’s something that I indulge in without really thinking about it,” Fink said.
During Lent, Fink said, whenever she abstains from candy or desserts, she is reminded of the sacrifice of Christ.
Helen Hunter Robertson, senior in French education, is also striving to control her sweet tooth until Easter, in addition to getting less sleep in order to pray.
She is going without the sugar in her morning coffee, the fuel that helps her drive 50 minutes to teach at Hardaway High School in Columbus, Ga.
Robertson credited her Lent observance with allowing her to be more devoted and self-aware in the classroom.
Because of the season, she more often remembers to add her students to her prayers.
“When you pray for somebody, generally it helps you to be more patient with them or be more understanding and soItrytoprayformystudents,” Robertson said.
Rehm, Fink and Robertson, raised in Catholicism, can all recall times where they failed to keep a resolution in past years. But to them, it’s just part of being human.
“My first instinct when I mess up is to always be disappointed,” said Fink, who estimated that half of her Lent resolutions had been broken at some point. In her moments of doubt, she takes comfort in her faith.
“When we look at things like scripture, when we look at Catholic doctrine, we see that what Christ desires of us is that we continue to try,” Fink said.
Fink feels Lent is not just a time for Christians to intensely practice their faith, but also a way for any person to test oneself.
“The idea of self-denial is universal, no matter if you’re a specific religion or spirituality or not,” Fink said.
Fink said she has friends in North Carolina who observe Lent with a greater focus on self-improvement and less on a spiritual exercise.
“It’s valuable to be able, sometimes, to deny yourself things that you might want in order to prove your mind has power over your body,” said Fink.