Suggestions for Lent
This is the final Sunday before Lent begins. Ash Wednesday is this week and we wouldn’t want to begin Lent without a firm idea of what we’re going to do to help us grow in the spiritual life. Lent is a very special season so let’s not let it go to waste. We are called to repentance and to deepen our relationship with Christ. So if you haven’t done so recently, the best way to begin is by making a good examination of conscience followed by Confession, as being in a state of grace is the starting point of any personal renewal.
We Catholics are in the habit of giving up something we are fond of for Lent. This is a good practice because it helps us to become detached from the things of this world. However, very often we begin with the best of intentions and then after a few days we find we have lapsed. If this is the case, don’t just give up. Start again afresh. Be realistic about what you’re going to give up – remember it’s for 40 days – and it’s best not to choose something you know is going to make it difficult for the people you live with or is going to make you bad tempered!
But let’s try and go deeper in our relationship with Our Lord. If possible, try to get to Mass an extra time in the week. I know this may be difficult for some, particularly at this time, but if you can, make the effort. We’re also going to be having Stations of the Cross each Friday evening after Mass, and there is Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every Saturday morning from 10.30-12.30pm. Drop in for a quarter of an hour. This would be especially good for those who don’t normally do these things. Pray the Rosary every day and say the Litany of St Joseph and other prayers to him in this special year.
Some might like to take up some spiritual reading. You may gain a Plenary Indulgence every day for reading the Scriptures prayerfully for half an hour. You could read in conjunction with a good Catholic commentary. Or you might read the life of a favourite saint or the writings of a saint, or watch a good religious film such as “Jesus of Nazareth”, “The Song of Bernadette” or “The Chosen” all of which are free on YouTube. You can think of others. Then use the free “Walk with Me” booklet which has a meditation for each day.
Never forget the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. Pray every day for the Souls in Purgatory. Have Masses offered for them. You might wish to give alms to worthy causes such as Aid to the Church in Need or CAFOD and some of our local charities. Pray for someone who is driving you up the wall or who is far from God.
These are just a few ideas and no doubt you will have your own thoughts. Let us pray that these Lenten days will be grace-filled for all of us. May God bless us all throughout this holy season.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC