.Have you thought about Lent this year? This post is a little later than I hoped to adequately prepare others, but there are still a couple days before the season starts. The three key things to remember about Lent, of course, are prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
A friend of mine recently shared what she always does for Lent. She makes a list of things she needs to improve in her life in these 3 categories: spiritual, physical and emotional. Her list is long, but she picks one from each category. I thought this was a great idea. In the past, this may have overwhelmed me, but I am at a point spiritually that I think this is possible for me.
I was also hearing that we really should not be sharing what we are doing or giving up for Lent. It is a similar principle to the lesson God gives us that when we fast, do not let others know we are fasting. Dress well and anoint yourself with oil, so that others do not know, but your Father will know in heaven. For this reason, I will not be sharing what I am doing for Lent here.
I can, however, share some suggestions, if you are looking for those here. First of all, look at all the areas of your life you want to improve (spiritually speaking) and sins that you are having a hard time overcoming. Even if it is overwhelming, remember, that with God’s help, anything is possible! I have overcome sins with His help that I thought I would always be in a perpetual cycle sinning. The mistake I made was that I thought that it was simply about willpower. When I asked for His help, I was finally able to overcome these sins (gradually). The sacrament of reconciliation is also a wonderful tool to keep you accountable and to prevent you from sinning. The rosary is also a very powerful tool to overcome vice and sin!
If you struggle with screen addition, perhaps you want to consider giving them up cold turkey or at least putting limits on your screen use? Do you pray the rosary daily? If not, consider doing that every day for Lent to make that a more permanent habit. If praying the rosary is already a habit, you could add in the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily and/or pray all 15 decades of the rosary daily. Do you go to daily mass or have the ability to do so? Maybe you could consider going to daily mass during this season. I have heard from many daily mass goers that it has made them more holy in their lives.
Remember, that whatever you give up or do for Lent, needs to actually feel like a sacrifice. If you already do not eat sweets, and that is pretty easy for you, then you may want to consider giving up something else or making another sacrifice of some kind. Are you prone to anger? You may want to consider working on your reactions towards others. Lent is a wonderful time of internal reflection to see how you can become a more holy person. I would also recommend reading The Life of Mary As Seen By the Mystics to motivate you to become more holy. Check out my review of the book here.
I have a number of Lenten meal recipes on my blog, including French onion soup, Indian lentils, Saag, broccoli and pecan soup, beet greens, tender Asian salmon, air fryer fries, postpartum recovery soup, shrimp bisque, pad thai (replace beef with shrimp), calamari (YouTube channel), and teriyaki stir fry. That should be a good starting place for you for meal ideas for Ash Wednesday, the Fridays during Lent and Good Friday. You could also consider extending your abstinence from meat to every Friday during the year. Catholics are no longer required to abstain from meat during regular Fridays during the year. However, we still have to offer up a sacrifice on those days. It is easier to remember, in my opinion, to give up meat on those days. I think it is also a good day for us to have a weekly serving or 2 of fish.
I hope this post has helped you before the start of Lent this year. May you and your family have a blessed Lenten season!