I blinked and here we are in the middle of February. Sometimes the liturgical seasons sneak up on us, so here is your reminder: Lent begins NEXT WEEK, on February 22nd, 2023!
Lent is a season of preparation, but there is also some preparation to do before it begins. With only a few days left before we set off on our penitential journey, it’s time to sit down and make a plan. I’ve learned that when I wait until Fat Tuesday and make Lenten decisions in a state of semi-panic, I don’t have the most fruitful Lent. Rather, we should take our time to consider what would be the best for our souls this year. Start thinking on it today, if you haven’t already!
My first piece of advice is to move on from giving up chocolate, or soda, or whatever it is you do year after year. Yes, self-denial can be a way to grow in holiness, but is chocolate the biggest obstacle between you and God? If you want to give something up, pray about what might be a better practice for your soul this year. Hint: consider giving up something that you won’t immediately go back to after Lent is over. Maybe that is time spent on social media that is taking you away from far more important things in your life, or evenings spent in front of the television that would be spent reading a good book or quality time with your spouse. In my humble opinion, the best things to “give up” are the ones that can be replaced with better life-giving, faith-deepening, relationship-building habits.
And maybe you choose not to give up anything at all, but rather to add on some excellent spiritual practices this Lent. If you aren’t praying the Rosary, you could commit to praying it daily this Lenten season. Maybe you will read some great spiritual books, or learn about a new aspect of the Faith. Perhaps you could dive into scripture and practice Lectio Divina with the daily readings throughout Lent. Hopefully, that new habit you create will stick with you long after the 40 days are over.
With so many options for individual and family Lenten resources and activities, my advice is to choose wisely and don’t go overboard. Lent is a time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—it is not a time to take on ten new tasks, no matter how wonderful each of them might be. Make more time and space for God, don’t fill it up by biting off more than you can chew. Let’s reach the Easter season feeling refreshed and strengthened, not frazzled and defeated.
With so many possibilities, how can we possibly choose? The key is to take the time to pray about it, and ask God what HE wants you to do. What does God want you to prune from your life? In what prayer or reflection does God want to meet you this Lent? Ask, and then listen. Set aside your own plans and ambitions to allow God the space to work in your heart in the way He desires. May you have a quiet, fulfilling, and fruitful Lent.
Our Relevant Radio Lenten Lessons on the Mass are back! In our PREMIUM EDITION video series, Father Rocky takes you all the way through the Mass, from the preparation to the final blessing.
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