lfbanner3a summer
Lent begins in less than three weeks on February 26th, Ash Wednesday. Although some may approach it with weeping and wailing, Lent should not be a time of sadness for us as Christians.  While it is difficult for us to overcome the disordered attachments that we have to things of this world, it is ultimately a fundamental good.  So at its essence, it is something that will ultimately mean a deeper and truer happiness.  Something that good is worth the efforts.  

Consider of the persona we see presented so often on television: despite the glitz and glam we see on their faces, no amount of public acclaim or personal possessions can increase their inner joy by one bit, which in fact only comes from the relationships of family, our good works, and in worship of the almighty God. 

Penance is about getting priorities realigned, which often means a type of detachment is needed. Detachment is important for us because the things of this world are created by God who is good, and these good things can become for us idols: we end up worshiping the little goods instead of their source, of whom Jesus says, “one alone is Good.”  Thus we forego some of the earthly pleasure of life in order to re-order our dis-order, to bend back our crooked hearts.  So we reaffirm the true order of the universe when we participate in the three Lenten practices, especially fasting, which say “God is the greatest good; all other goods are to be appreciated according to His will.”
So It might be useful to use these last weeks before Lent to pray about what we should be doing during the upcoming season.  Pray a short prayer each day something like this: "God, what do you want me to do for Lent? Help me to know."

Pray. Fast. Give alms.  These are the three categories that Jesus puts before us in the Gospel of Ash Wednesday.  Perhaps thinking of one or two things in each category would suffice. A shorter list is more easily remembered and implemented. You can find lots of ideas online by a simple search: "Lenten practice ideas." Here are some good ones I found:
Some form of digital down-sizing: cut out music, radio, TV, video games, social media, or something else; Eucharistic Adoration or praying in a church/chapel once or more each week for 15+ minutes; no eating outside of meals, or cutting out something you regularly enjoy; write a letter each day; compliment three people every day; don't buy anything you don't need (and donate some of what you save); go to Stations of the Cross on Friday (or do it on your own); give up the snooze button, or the pillow, or the bed; memorize the corporal and spiritual works of mercy and practice one of them daily; read the Gospel for Sunday ahead of time as part of your prayer time each week (or the daily Gospel readings everyday); apologize and forgive where you really need to.
I hope these got your gears turning.  Now take it to prayer and ask God what He wants.

Saint Thérèse, pray for us!

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