Lent 2019

 

 

There is more to Lent than giving up some food and drink. With a little imagination and innovation, we can go beyond the traditional practices and make this holy season more spiritually meaningful, uplifting, effective and fruitful. We are called to be more repentant and contrite, more engaged in acts of love, helping the needy, especially with spiritual and temporal works of mercy. It is a time of intense penitence and prayer, self-denial and sacrifice, renunciation and reform. Make sure that you live this Lent daily: deepen your relationship with God, others and yourself; take up the practice of reviewing and reflecting on your day, repenting for sins and asking God’s forgiveness. Unburden yourself of the things that weigh you down and surrender yourself to God. Here are some practical and pragmatic ways of keeping Lent.

  1.  Find time for silence. We live in a world of noise; every waking moment is filled with stimulation. Our distractions and disorientations drown out the voice of God. Take at least ten minutes a day to “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
  2. Celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Make time to go to Confession on a regular basis.
  3. Gratefully receive God’s forgiveness; forgive yourself.
  4. Forgive others and seek forgiveness. We ought to give mercy away as freely as it comes to us.
  5. Spend extra time in prayer; set aside time for prayer every day.
  6. Observe the liturgical and para-liturgical traditions of Lent.
  7. Have special Lenten devotions, like the Way of the Cross.
  8. Set aside Sunday as a holy of day of Sabbath rest. Take active and effective participation in the Sunday Eucharist. One of the ways is to pray the Mass prayers slowly, loudly and clearly, meaning what you say and saying what you mean.
  9. Participate in the daily celebration of the Eucharist.
  10. Pray for the dead.
  11. Read meditatively the Bible, especially the passion narratives in each of the Gospels.
  12. Pray the Psalms.
  13. Read spiritual books.
  14. Make a little more effort to be polite, gentle, kind and compassionate.
  15. Become a little more loving, caring, appreciative and forgiving.
  16. Spend more time with your family; pray together as a family (evening prayer, Rosary); reconnect with friends.
  17. Be a little more generous; reach out to those in need.
  18. Save from your pocket to help a needy person.
  19. Get involved in your parish.
  20. Visit the sick, the homebound, the lonely.
  21. Share your gifts; give without expecting anything in return. You do not have to be rich to be generous.
  22. Help someone to learn something.
  23. Make personal sacrifices, mortification, self-denial and penance.
  24. Fast once a week.
  25. Discuss and choose within the family a daily sacrifice or a Lenten penance.
  26. Fast from ill-feeling, complaining, criticism, bitterness, anger, revenge.
  27. Fast from too much TV and social media; Observe a no TV day.
  28. Abstain from gossiping, backbiting, jealousy.
  29. Fast from fear, worry, anxiety, and trust in God.
  30. Fast from self-righteousness, hypocrisy, pharisaic behavior.
  31. Fast from selfishness, egoism, pride.
  32. Make a list of your blessings and say thank you to God and others.
  33. Break the vicious circle of an evil addiction or compulsive behavior.
  34. Lead a more conscious, conscientious and purpose-driven life.
  35. Become more honest, faithful, diligent and cheerful in your work; go the extra mile.
  36. Become more aware of God’s presence and power accompanying you in your pilgrimage of life.
  37. Try to feel the heartbeat of God’s tender love. Receive and respond to divine unconditional love.
  38. Put out into the deep, repent and renew and reform your life.
  39. Live at peace and ease with yourself, others, God and God’s creation.
  40. Face the shadows within and without you, bring them to Love’s light; fill your heart with light and surround yourself with positive energy.

      Lent is a time to discipline yourself, conquer your pride, master yourself, purge yourself of egoism, hone your virtues, leave your comfort zone, abandon your self-defeating habits, repent for your sins, seek forgiveness from God and others, experience reconciliation, bring about transformation in your life, embrace your humanity and walk humbly with God. It is a challenging time of the liturgical year, a time of personal conversion to Christ.

 May these days of reflection and repentance, prayer and penitence, abstinence and almsgiving, fasting and fervent searching, help us grow deeper in faith and draw closer to God.