March 1, 2017
For so many years Lent has been a time in my life marked by fish and cheese pizza on Fridays (not together… gross) and giving up chocolate because my mom told me to. It wasn't until recently that I took a deeper look into the three practices of Lent the Church gives us: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. and I learned that they all correspond to the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity.
This year Pope Francis reminds us that “Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbor.“
So Every week of Lent on this blog we will take a look at these practices, and the season itself, in order to grow closer to Christ. As we start our Lenten journey today I wanted to share a few tips that have helped me make the most out of this season.
1. Quality over quantity
Lent isn’t about performance or competition. I don’t need to outdo what my friends are doing for Lent or take on more than I can handle in attempts to be more “holy”. Pick one thing and do it well.
2. Write it down
Decide what you’re going to fast from, what your prayer commitment is and how you’ll give alms then write it down! Stick it on your bedroom door or post it in your iPhone notes. When we write something down we’re a lot more likely to remember it and follow through - so when we’re being tempted with a giant cheese burger on Friday we can look to that note and remember the commitment we’ve made.
3. Have an intention
Is there a situation in your life, maybe a relationship or circumstance that seems impossible or hopeless? I invite you to pick an intention for your fasting and almsgiving, write it down (see #2) and offer it to God. I know that if I give up sweets just for myself, I have a hard time sticking to it, but if I’m giving up sweets for someone or something else other than myself I’m a lot more likely to stick to it.
I invite you to join us this Lent as we rediscover the beauty of Lent and how it can draw us to encounter Jesus in a new way. As Pope Francis said, Lent truly is a "favorable season", so let's make it count! Share with us in the comments what you are planning to do this Lent, and check back here weekly for new blog posts to encourage you along your journey.