Thursday, March 6, 2014

3 things you can do this Lent

Here we go. 

Our Lenten journey has begun… and I’m already fighting the thoughts in my head that say: I’m already behind.

Between a long day of writing and the evening Ash WednesdayMass, I didn’t even have a chance to post my Small Mercies Miércoles yesterday—but I will do so tomorrow, or the next day…

If you’re like me, you may still be discerning what you’re going to do different this Lent. Perhaps you haven’t even made the “big” statement, the one that everyone wants to know… what are you going to give up for Lent?

Here’s what I propose for both of us—my 3 things you can do this Lent, with my assurance that these three things will make this Lent different than any other Lent.

#1  Pick one thing… and be determined and diligent. If you have not quite yet committed to something, it is usually a sign that you’re trying to do too many things.

Yes, the Church suggests that we shift our spiritual focus to three areas during Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.   I propose that you pick one of those areas, and decide on one thing that you will commit to doing really, really well.

For example, if your area is prayer, add one thing to your prayer life. If you already go to daily Mass, go to Perpetual Adoration one day a week. If you already do daily prayer time, add 15 minutes of silence (or 10 or 7).  If you haven’t gone to the Sacrament of Reconciliation in a while, spend some extra time preparing—and put it on your calendar.   
If you pick fasting, how about fasting from television (or gossiping or smart ass comments, or from negativity). If almsgiving, do one anonymous service act each week, or write a card regularly to so someone who is sick—or to children in the hospital, or to a soldier overseas.

Only one area. Only one thing. Regardless of what area you pick, if your commitment is serious, I promise it will make you more aware of all other aspects of your faith life!

I mean it! 
#2       Re-commit to what you already know.  Let me say it another way. Chances are that if you’re reading this blog, you already go to church regularly and you take your faith seriously.  But don’t just know what you have to do, also do it.  
Be faithful to prayer. Offer your day for someone who’s lonely, or suffering, or dying. Live in joy. Be mindful of how you spend your money, and be faithful about tithing. Make amends with your friend, your relative, your neighbor. Forgive daily, especially those who come to mind right now. 
You get the idea. Yes, know what you have to do—and do it.
#3       keep it simple. This has been my theme for a while. Walk with God. Pray with one word: Jesus. Be still more. Look around you and say thanks. Open your hands, both literally and spiritually.

  • Pick one thing. 
  • we know what we have to do, and do it. 
  • Keep it simple.

If you think you should be doing more for Lent, go watch the movie “The Mission” – and come back and talk to me?