The Season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on March 1st. That sounds like a long way off, but really, it’s only 10 days. Anything that is worth doing, is worth doing well. Make this year’s Lent a valuable time. Actually make plans about how to spend the time most meaningfully. When you receive your copy of Resisting Happiness next weekend, it will include a bookmark with all the events that are taking place in our parish this Lenten Season.
The season of Lent offers us forty days to review our lives and focus on conversion and spiritual transformation. It is basically a spiritual “spring training;” a time when we go back to the basics of our faith formation through prayer, fasting, almsgiving and other penitential practices in order to improve and enhance our spiritual lives and prepare ourselves to more fully participate in the paschal mystery of Holy Week with a generous heart and renewed commitment to Christ. Consider some of the following ideas for making your Lenten season even more meaningful this year. save. (See #5)
- Identify some penitential practice you can realistically commit to every day. It’s easy to become distracted and suddenly discover that Lent is half over. A daily commitment will keep you focused. Mark it in your calendar today and be faithful to your commitment.
- Make time in your daily schedule for private prayer, even if it is only ten minutes. Remember, improving our spiritual lives starts with prayer, and the silence of an empty room where we begin to listen to God is invaluable. Prayer requires reserving time for God.
- Reduce your daily or weekly soft drink or alcohol intake as a spiritual discipline. Drink water and pray for those who lack access to a safe, reliable source of drinking water.
- It’s become a cliché that people are addicted to communication technologies. “Give up” some of your “screen time” each day, whether it’s watching television, constantly checking your phone, or surfing the Web. Put the extra time to use: read a passage from Scripture, call or visit a lonely friend or relative, pray the Rosary.
- Don’t shop for clothes during Lent. Stay out of every store except the supermarket and pharmacy, and don’t loiter at these places either. Reflect on what it is like for millions in the world who have little or no discretionary income.
- Make an extra donation to the poor with the money you save (see #5).
- Find a way to reduce your daily home energy consumption. With just five percent of the world’s population, people living in the U.S. consume 24% of its available energy. Make it a spiritual exercise.
- Give up negative thinking. Work on a patient, positive attitude toward others. Catch yourself when you mentally berate someone and turn it into a prayer for that person.
- Take Luke 3:11 seriously. Do you have extra clothes languishing in a closet? Take an afternoon to clean a closet, give a “tunic” or two to a good cause, and prayerfully reflect on how well you are using the world’s resources.
- Pray with the Church. Attend an extra Mass during the week or participate in a devotion that inspires you.