Packing for Lent

What do the season of Lent and a suitcase have in common? The Most Rev. Richard Stika, Bishop of Knoxville, TN, spoke about them this week on Morning Air® on Relevant Radio®!

“I always have this habit of over-packing and I never use the stuff. So the way I approach Lent is don’t pack too much, because you can overwhelm yourself. Pick a few things that you would like to accomplish. And I have a different philosophy – I don’t think we should give up things for Lent, I think we should give things for Lent; we give it to God as a way of saying thank you for Faith, thank you for Jesus, thank you for the season. So, pack light to make sure you’re going to use the things that you pack.”

Bishop Stika doesn’t think that Lent needs to be a season to deprive ourselves of many things and make ourselves miserable. “Even in the scriptures, Jesus tells us not to be glum. And as Pope Francis reminds us time and time again, Christians should be joyful! So we can be joyful during this season of Lent. Joyful, in fact, because it reminds us that we are undergoing this purification.”

“In that purification, the end result is joining our prayers with all those who are coming into the Church at the Easter Vigil, but also maybe we’ll accomplish a couple more footsteps. They always talk about how baby steps will get you to the place – we can overwhelm ourselves with all the other things that go on in life, so take a few things and put it in your Lenten luggage and every day open that up and unpack,” says Bishop Stika.

Avoid setting expectations for the ‘perfect’ Lent. “Trying to be perfect—which is impossible—can overwhelm us to the point where, ‘I can’t do it so I’m just going to forget about it’. As opposed to accomplishing something a little bit every day.” Bishop Stika gave some suggestions for what you could do this Lent: read a little bit of a spiritual book each day, work your way through a book of the Bible and reflect on it each day, pray the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet every day.

Doing any of these small things for Lent can make a real difference. “It’s prayer—a unification with God—and because God doesn’t want us to fail, so, if we even do some of these small practices, it adds up.” And, if you stick with it, these practices will become a habit.