Best Lent Ever
Feb 26, 2020
Best Lent Ever!
During Lent, the question that often comes up in conversations is, “So what are you giving up for Lent?” But Lent isn’t fundamentally about “giving stuff up”; fasting (and more broadly, self-giving) is important, but it’s a means to an end, not the end itself. The purpose of Lent is to renew and deepen our personal relationship with God and with his Church. The pillars of Lent, which are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, are tools to help us in this purpose, to help us turn away from sin and grow closer to God.
If you’re giving up junk food, candy, ice cream, or other foods just because you need something to give up for Lent, and you think it’ll help you get that beach body…rethink what you’re intending to give up, and why you’re intending to give it up, and move on to the next points.
Real fasting is not simply a physical act, but also an act of the mind, heart, and soul. The intent behind fasting and other forms of self-denial is to strengthen our wills by controlling the physical appetites of our bodies. Some of these appetites can be benign, but others can be sinful and harmful to our souls (think lust, gluttony, negativity etc.). Fasting reminds us, as Jesus said, that man cannot live on bread alone, that we have mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of ourselves which also need care. Sometimes we get so distracted by physical wants and desires (as opposed to legitimate needs) that we lose sight of what is most important, which is God.
Another aspect of fasting is that these acts of self-denial bring us closer to Jesus, who made the ultimate act of sacrifice by giving up His life for the whole world. Giving up your favorite dessert might seem like nothing compared to that, but it does in fact move our wills closer to the will of Christ, which is one of self-giving love to others.
So basically, it’s not as much what you give up that will help you grow spiritually, though that can be quite significant and challenging on its own; it’s why you give it up that makes a difference.
Don’t forget about prayer and almsgiving! Prayer is, quite simply, conversation with God, and all strong relationships have good communication. There are many ways we can pray, whether they’re the classic prayers you were taught when you were little, deep written reflections from spiritual writers, even casual conversation with God.
Another important aspect is almsgiving and works of charity, which helps to reconcile us to God in the people He created, our neighbors, especially those in need. In Matthew 25, Jesus tells us that whenever we give food and drink to the hungry and thirsty, welcome a stranger, give clothes to someone who doesn’t have them, visit and comfort the sick or imprisoned, we do it to Him (He also reminds us that when we ignore the least of our neighbors, we ignore Him). It is important to share the gifts that God has given to us with the people around us, not just our money, but also our time, and most especially our love. Mother Teresa once observed that the people in third world countries suffer from physical poverty, but those in developed nations tend to suffer from emotional and spiritual poverty.
THE MOST IMPORTANT BIT OF ADVICE: take time to reflect on your life, on your relationship with God, and most importantly the times you chose to turn away from God by choosing to sin. Then get yourself to Confession. Whether you’re a regular at the confession line or you haven’t gone in months/years/decades, now is the time to go. Scripture tells us that “the wages of sin is death.” A sin is an action, a lack of action, or a thought that violates God’s law and therefore damages our relationship not just with God, but with the people around us, even sins you commit that you think people don’t know about. But God, even though we choose to turn away from Him, chooses to continue to love us, want what is best for us, and offers us the opportunity to be reconciled to Him through the healing Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Spiritual Reading: Taking advantage of our Library in the back of the Church
Daily Mass…in some Parishes there is even a 1210pm Mass during Lent
Stations of the Cross (we have them every Friday evening during Lent)
Sign Up: Best Lent Ever! Go to dynamiccatholic.com
Daily or weekly Holy Hour in Church
Tuesday Adoration and Confession: 7 00 to 800pm
Adoration any time the Church is open and you are free to sit before the Tabernacle and rest in the peace of Christ’s presence.
Choose a Gospel to focus on…read and meditate on passages each day…especially the Passion Narratives.
Read the Sunday Scriptures BEFORE attending Mass
Take something on — 40 days of letter writing, 40 acts of kindness, 40 phone calls to the important people in your life.
Check out these other great ideas: https://bustedhalo.com/ministry-resources/25-great-things-you-can-do-for-lent