The last few days before Ash Wednesday are devoted to festivals: Carnevale throughout Italy, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and other small-scale celebrations before we enter an intense season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the perfect day for all of us who’ve been procrastinating our Lenten goals. Whether you have something in mind or have no clue where to start, we have some ideas for you the night before Lent begins:
- Join a daily prayer initiative, like an email of the daily readings, or add a daily prayer calendar to your desk.
- Challenge yourself to learn something new each day of Lent with Father Rocky’s Lenten Lessons on the Mass, emailed to you every morning with a quick lesson on the Mass.
- Choose a saint you’ve always been curious about and commit to reading a paragraph of their work every morning. This works just as well with a book of the Bible, too!
- Turn your phone off (or on “do not disturb”) for an hour after work each day. Devote that time to something else: take a walk, make dinner, spend that time with your family, roommates, or pets.
- Get up with your first alarm – or your second. Whatever alarm usually gets you out of bed, strive to rise one earlier.
- Got a habit you’re looking to fast from? This may be the year you choose to fast from complaining or gossiping (and leave the creamer in your coffee)!
- Add little things to your daily spiritual life, like a daily Mass or Adoration on the hardest day of your workweek.
- Pray a decade of the Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet every day. As Lent goes on, add to it each week until you’re praying the whole devotional in a day!
- Income exchange is an easy way to pare down old habits and start new ones! If you normally get a five-dollar coffee on your way to work, swap one day with a five-dollar donation each week. Your local parish or charities you share passions with are great places to consider!
- Offer your time or talent in service. Send handmade cards to a nursing home or share your joy for cooking through a Meal Train. Spend your Monday evenings helping an animal shelter, or a Saturday morning at a park cleanup.
One thing to keep in mind in your night-before brainstorm is that Lent is a dynamic season – how you prepare can and should grow as you do. Lent speaks uniquely to every soul, all with the same end goal: to prepare our hearts and our minds for the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
One thing we definitely recommend for your Lenten journey is Father Rocky’s Lenten Lessons on the Mass. Free, bite-sized email insights on the Mass every morning that you can read, watch, and listen to anywhere. It’s one of the simplest ways to start preparing for the Easter season – Christ’s life, death, and Resurrection all play out through the Mass!