Lent is a gift of time to focus on growing closer to God. A gift of time to examine your faith life, to deny yourself in order to love sacrificially and to turn your heart back to Him. As with any gift, you must unwrap it to appreciate and use it. Open this gift and enter the beauty of the 40 days God gives you to get ready for the resurrection of His son.
Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving are the pillars of Lent. You can offer more time in prayer to God in these 40 days. The closeness between friends or spouses comes from time spent together and it’s no different with God. Sacrifice your time and add a daily Rosary, the Angelus, an Examen or a Holy Hour during Lent. The ancient practice of fasting allows your hunger for God to be felt in the physical rumbling of your stomach and connects you to those forced to fast in poverty. You should abstain from meat on all Fridays in Lent and fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday with just one small meatless meal and no in-between snacks. Caring for those in need helps you to express your gratitude for all God has given and you can give alms (money or food given to the poor) over and above your normal Sunday offering and charitable contributions.
As you contemplate what you want to “give up” for Lent, look at some creative ways you can challenge yourself. You can give up the “standards” such as chocolate, dessert, soda, alcohol, and smoking, but, consider stretching yourself to give up habits of sin and self-indulgence that hold you back in your relationship with Jesus such as:
• Buying things you don’t need (give that money as alms instead)
• Eating between meals and after dinner
• Eating out at restaurants (again, give that money as alms)
• Binging on Netflix or social media
• Creature comforts (try lukewarm showers or sleeping on the floor)
• Making excuses
• Putting yourself first
• Being ungrateful
• Reaching for your phone before your Bible
• Only praying when you need something from God (try praise and thanksgiving)
Unwrap the gift of Lent. Let it help you to overcome sin, grow closer to Christ, repair your relationship with Him in the sacrament of Reconciliation and have your soul ready to celebrate with Him on Easter morning.
Click here for complete Rules on Fasting and Abstinence in Lent