Lent snuck up on me this year. I am sure that you can agree that this year has been interesting to say the least. In fact, that would be an understatement. We have gone through so much, both as a church and as a country. However, the church calendar does not stop and neither does time. It is one again time to refocus and reexamine our own personal faith. Lent is the perfect time to do this. Soon we will be celebrating Easter which is the biggest feast day of the year. The resurrection of our Lord. During this season of lent let us grow in our faith and remember to be thankful for what the Lord has done for us.
What Can I Give Up For Lent?
I am blessed to teach one of the first communion classes at my parish this year. In fact I am doubly blessed as my twin son and daughter are in the class. One thing that kids here about this time of year is the concept of giving something up. The point of this is to give up something and replace it with some kind of holy pursuit such as pray or scripture reading.
To be clear we do not have to give anything up, but we can take something up. If you feel the desire to give something up don’t just go through the motions. Don’t do it because it is something that everyone else is doing. Make it personal. What is something that you struggle with? Is there something that distracts you from the things of God? There are no right or wrong answers. Maybe you have already decided to give up soda for the 20th year in a row. That is fine and can be good. Are you replacing that carbonated beverage with an extra large Slurpee? If you are then why even give up soda when you take up something just as bad?
I love my Coke Zero and can see how giving it up would be a real challenge. I’m not knocking this specifically, but if you are going to give up soda then replace it with something that will strengthen your soul. This goes for anything we choose to give up.
Take Something Up For Lent
One of the things I challenge people, and myself, with is to take something up during lent. Doing this may possibly make this endeavor a habit. Two years I ago I decided that I would take up the Liturgy of the Hours, and now I can’t imagine my day without this prayer of the church.
Maybe you struggle with reading scripture outside of Mass. Then read or listen to scripture for five or ten minutes in the morning or on your lunch break. Perhaps you struggle with praying in silence and just listening to God. Then you can drive to work and pray and listen (just don’t have your eyes closed). Make it personal. God bless you.
You don’t know how to pray? Put yourself in the presence of God, and as soon as you have said, ‘Lord, I don’t know how to pray!’ you can be sure you’ve already begun.-Saint Josemaría Escrivá
As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst…He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you.– Saint Teresa of Calcutta
Give something, however small, to the one in need. For it is not small to one who has nothing. Neither is it small to God, if we have given what we could.-Saint Gregory Nazianzen
Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, kindles the true light of chastity.-Saint Thomas Aquinas