5 Ideas for Lent

Ash Wednesday is next week and I, for one, am excited for it! For a lot of people, Lent is about “giving up” something, such as candy, or coffee or whatever. Other people consider the penances of Lent a drudgery. That’s too bad. Lent isn’t about giving up something and then becoming frustrated – or giving up – when you fail. That’s what New Year’s Resolutions are for! Now, I’m not saying not to give up something for Lent. There is an important place for sacrifice and denial, but Lent is WAY more than that.

5 Ideas for Lent

Lent is about renewal!

The beginning of a new year is a time when many people make resolutions to lose weight, to do “this” or don’t do “that.” August and 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.” Of course, technically, everyday is a chance for a restart. But Lent is unique. Lent is a time that is especially meant for a spiritual renewal, even more so than the Advent and Christmas Season. Lent is a time to recalibrate our souls and remind ourselves of what and WHO is important in life. And, it is a time to refocus and rekindle (or deepen) our relationship with Jesus and with the Blessed Trinity.

Therefore, 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 “one thing to do or not do” for the next six weeks. Thus, 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 five ideas of things you can give yourself for Lent:

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.

There are a lot of people who are afraid of going to Confession or who think it is a waste of time. “Why go to confession to a priest when I can tell my sins right to God?” However, confession is a gift from God that gives us special graces, allows us to grow in grace and to come back to Him when we fail. I strongly encourage you to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church in regards to confession. Do the research on why Confession is important. It is really a very important sacrament!

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.

There is a lot of focus today about the community aspect of Mass which is important. However, we also must never lose sight of the purpose of the Mass. It is the center and source of our Christian Life! When we receive communion, we receive Jesus Himself. We take Him into our souls and our hearts. What an amazing and profound blessing and gift that is!

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. Also, 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 a few minutes or so reading the Bible and Lectio Divina.

There are also a lot of retreats and devotional booklets that are published for the Lenten Season. If that helps, pick one of those up and use it to help guide your prayer. Better yet, scrap that and just talk to God as you would a friend. He is always ready to listen! It may seem strange at first but we can, and should, speak from our souls and pour out our heart.

4. Give yourself the gift of reflection.

Prayer isn’t all about talking! It is also about listening and reflecting on what God wants to tell us. One way to do this is by jounaling. When you journal, you can certainly write down your prayers. However, you can also write down notes, scriptures, and insights that you get during prayer. You can paste prayer cards and pictures, doodle, and make it your safe and private place of encountering God.

To help you do this, last year I created a Lenten Prayer Journal. It is an unguided prayer journal sprinkled with scripture verses from the Mass readings, blank pages, and a section for specific prayer intentions. It is my heart’s desire that the journal be a comforting and “magical” place for you to grow in your faith and love for God.

(P.S. From now until March 1, 2017 – Ash Wednesday – you can get the printable pdf. version of the journal for only $5, regularly $12. Go here to purchase and download instantly. Go here for a free sample of journal. Go here for the paperback version of the journal on Amazon.)

5. 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 or not doing for Lent. That alone will transform your Lenten experience!

So many of us, myself included, live life too reactionary. We don’t take the time to think things through because we are too busy rushing from activity to activity and responsibility to responsibility. This year, take a few minutes to look at your calendar. What can you delegate, reschedule or remove so that you can give yourself some breathing room and mental space?

Now, let’s support each other.

Tell me, what are you doing for Lent this year? What are you going to do or 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!

As for me, I am focusing on the Nineveh 90 challenge. We are only a week in and it is proving to be a challenging and yet powerful experience. It is definitely helping me to be more disciplined in certain areas, that’s for sure! I still may give up something specific on top of this but I haven’t decided yet. 🙂

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Advent Prayer Journal for Women

If you have spent any time at all on this blog, you know that prayer is very important to me. It truly is the best (and only!) way to deepen our relationship with God. Advent is a great time to either begin or renew a deeper prayer life and to help you (and me!) to grow your prayer life, I have created an Advent prayer journal.

Advent Prayer Journal for Women

Image by geralt (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

I am self-publishing a paperback copy through Ingram Spark and I am just waiting for the proof to go through. Once that’s done the book will be published. In addition, since Kindle versions of journals don’t work, I have created a printable PDF version of the journal.

This is from the book description:

Make The Advent Season A True Spiritual Journey

The Advent season is a time of joyful anticipation and waiting; however, in the rush and stress of preparation, the real meaning of Advent can be lost.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way! By spending some time each day in prayer, you can refocus and center your heart and mind on the one whom we await: Jesus Christ. And, this Advent Prayer Journal For Women can help.

This 162 page journal includes:

  • Scripture quotations from the Mass Readings
  • Lots of lined pages for writing and journaling
  • Blank pages for doodling, drawing, or pasting pictures
  • A section and explanation of the “O” Antiphons
  • A section for prayer intentions

May this journal be a tool to make this your best Advent Season yet!

The paperback book will be sold for $14.95 and the PDF will be sold at $10. However, for this week only (Until Friday, December 4), you can get the PDF for $5. There are no coupon codes needed, just go here to order the journal.

I pray that this journal will bless you and help you grow ever closer to Our Lord!

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Tweetable: Advent Prayer Journal for Women

Please, Please Pray for This Intention

To Protect the privacy of the people involved, I won’t use names; however, I know someone who lost her son on Saturday from  a drug overdose. To make matters worse, Saturday was his birthday and he just turned 20 years old.

He is survived by his mother, father, two siblings, a baby who is less than a year old, and other relatives and of course, his friends. The family, naturally are besides themselves with grief.

Today is the memorial service and I know it will be a particuarly hard day for everyone, so any and all prayers would be much appreciated. Thank you so much.

May the Lord have mercy on his soul and give comfort to the family…

Fearless Friday: Prayer for our Families

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Today is my brother’s 36th (I think!) birthday. He’s a great guy who has had to deal with lots of “stuff” over the years. He struggles a lot and I’m not really sure where he stands in regards to his faith. Still, I love him dearly and so grateful to have him as my brother. Please, if you can, do say a little prayer for him.

I am also praying for all of our families. Those who are far from the Lord, those who are close to the Lord and those who are somewhere in between. I am praying for all our family members who are struggling with difficulties, those who are sick and for those who are rejoicing. In short, I am praying for all the special intentions of our families!

Prayer for a Family

O God of goodness and mercy, to Thy fatherly guidance we commend our family, our household and all our belongings.
We commit all to Thy love and keeping; do Thou fill this house with Thy blessings even as Thou didst fill the holy House of Nazareth with Thy presence. Keep far from us, above all else, the blemish of sin, and do Thou alone reign in our midst by Thy law,
by Thy most holy love and by the exercise of every Christian virtue. Let each one of us obey Thee, love Thee and set himself to follow in his own life Thine example, that of Mary, Thy Mother and our Mother most loving, and that of Thy blameless guardian, Saint Joseph.

Protect us and our house from all evils and misfortunes, but grant that we may be ever resigned to Thy divine will even in the sorrows which it shall please Thee to send us. Finally give unto all of us the grace to live in perfect harmony and in the fullness of love toward our neighbor. Grant that every one of us may deserve by a holy life the comfort of Thy holy Sacraments at the hour of death.
O Jesus, bless us and protect us.

O Mary, Mother of grace and of mercy, defend us against the wicked spirit, reconcile us with Thy Son, commit us to His keeping,
that so we may be made worthy of His promises.

Saint Joseph, foster-father of our Savior, guardian of His holy Mother, head of the Holy Family, intercede for us, bless us and defend our home at all times.

Saint Michael, defend us against all the evil cunning of hell.

Saint Gabriel, make us to understand the holy will of God.

Saint Raphael, preserve us from all sickness and from every danger to our lives.

Our holy Guardian Angels, keep our feet safely on the path of salvation both day and night.

Our holy Patrons, pray for us before the throne of God. Yea, bless this house,

O God the Father, who hast created us;

O God the Son, who hast suffered for us upon the holy Cross,

and Thou, O Holy Spirit, who hast sanctified us in holy Baptism.

May the one God in three Divine Persons preserve our bodies, purify our minds, direct our hearts and bring us all to everlasting life.

Glory be to the Father, glory be to the Son, glory be to the Holy Ghost!

Amen.

(Prayer found at catholic.org)

Come join us over at Free Spirit Haven and add your prayer intentions!