Three Cheers for Lent!

Three Cheers for Lent!Ash Wednesday is this week and as you can tell from the title of this post, I’m excited about the arrival of Lent! For a lot of people, Lent is about “giving up” something, such as candy, or coffee or whatever. Some people consider the penances of Lent a drudgery. And that’s too bad. Lent isn’t about giving up something and then becoming frustrated with oneself for failing to live up to one’s promises. That’s what New Year’s Resolutions are for! Now, I’m not saying not to give up something for Lent. I am giving up something, but Lent is more than that.

Lent is about renewal!

New Year’s is a time when many people make resolutions to lose weight, do this, don’t do that. August/September is the beginning of a new school year and a time when kids (and adults) resolve to make “this year better than last year.” And technically, everyday is a chance for a restart. But Lent is unique. Lent is a time that is especially meant for a spiritual renewal, almost even more so than the Advent/Christmas Season. It is a time to recalibrate our souls and remind ourselves of what is important in life. It is a time to refocus and rekindle (or deepen) our relationship with Jesus, with the Blessed Trinity.

The purpose of the “mandates” of Lent: prayer, sacrifice and almsgiving is to help us go deeper into the truths of our faith and our relationship with Christ, NOT to give us yet another thing to do or not do for the next six weeks. So, I’d like to invite you to rethink your strategy for Lent this year. If you have been in the habit of giving up something for Lent and it hasn’t worked for ya, how about instead of giving up something, give yourself something. Here are four things you can give yourself:

1. Give yourself the gift of Confession. If you haven’t been to the Sacrament of reconciliation in a while, now would be a good time to go. The Church requires Catholic to go to Confession at least once a year for a reason. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a sacrament of healing and an opportunity to encounter Christ in a very special way.

2. Give yourself the gift of the Eucharist. If you aren’t in the habit of going to daily mass, now would be a great time to start – even if it just one or two days a week – or just on Saturdays. The readings for Lent are just as powerful during the week as they are on Sundays.

3. Give yourself the gift of prayer. The rosary is a particularly powerful prayer and it is a wonderful way to meditate on the mysteries of Our Lord’s Life, Death and Resurrection. It is even better if you can pray together as a family. Many Churches offer the Stations of the Cross each Friday which is a beautiful way to enter one’s self into Our Lord’s suffering. If you can’t do that, try to just spend five minutes or so reading the Bible and/or sitting quietly before the Lord.

4. Give yourself the gift of intention. Finally, above all, no matter what you do the Lent, let it be intentional and focused. Be fully present to your devotions, family or whatever it is you are doing/not doing for Lent. That alone will transform your Lenten experience!

Now, let’s support each other. Tell me, what are you doing for Lent this year? What are you going to do/not do in order to truly deepen your relationship with Jesus and renew your spirit this season? By putting it out there, it will help you stay accountable and give me the opportunity to pray for you!

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Comments

  1. Carol, I am giving up complaining! In a way, it is giving me something. A new attitude! 🙂 God bless!
    Colleen…recently posted…Deo Gratias – Lent BeginsMy Profile

  2. My weekday missal included a quote from St. Leo the Great at the head of the Ash Wednesday proper that sums up my current thoughts on the season:

    “What the Christian should be doing at all times should be done now with greater care and devotion …”

    So I’ll continue mass on Tuesdays and Fridays, with rosary afterwards. I’ll add Stations on Friday evenings and Bible study on Thursday mornings. Generally, though, I felt as if I’ve already been through Lent, when I went on pilgrimage to Israel at the end of February. Seeing the empty tomb in the Holy Sepulchre Church in Jerusalem … was like Easter for me.

    • SimpleCatholic says:

      That is the perfect quote for the Lent. Even though I haven’t commented on them, I’ve enjoyed reading the stories on your blog about your experiences in Israel.

  3. I have chosen to discipline myself through the Weight Watchers program which has many kinds of denial and re-orientation towards food. A good structure that gives me the direction I need. As for the rest, I’m letting the Lord take over since He’s made it clear to me that I pick the wrong things. Then He comes in and up-ends everything. So I’m concentrating on discernment and submission for this season and leaving everything in His hands.
    Barb Schoeneberger…recently posted…Sunday Snippets – A Catholic CarnivalMy Profile

    • SimpleCatholic says:

      The Weight Watchers is a good program. I know several people who have lost weight with that program, including myself. 🙂

      I will pray for you as you concentrate on discernment and submission.

  4. “Give yourself the gift of intention” I’m trying to do what I usually do (daily Mass, Eucharist and prayer)with great attention.
    Joann…recently posted…Sunday Snippets–A Catholic CarnivalMy Profile

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