April 6, 2020
What Should I Do for Lent?

What Should I Do for Lent?

to help us decide what to do for Lent,
let’s take a look at what Lent is in its essence. The 40 days of Lent come from
our imitation of Jesus’s 40 days of fasting and prayer in the desert before
his ministry. There’s no distractions in the desert and that forces one to focus
on the bare essentials; what really matters not only physically but
spiritually, focusing on God alone. Resolutions are the backbone of our
spiritual life because they commit us to grow. In the spiritual life you are either
moving forwards or backwards; there’s no such thing as standing still. When we
think of the question of penance often the thought is what should I give up?
what do I need to suffer as far as sacrifice? Penance is not always a giving
up, sometimes it’s adding, it’s “what am I missing in my spiritual life, what is not
going well in my relationship with God that I can add during this time?” To
better prepare myself to live these days and prepare myself beyond this season.
I’d say there are three keys to a good Lenten mortification. First: it gives a
little pinch so that we would miss whatever it is that we’re giving up. Last
year for instance I thought I’d try to give up coffee, which for me was a
terrible idea. Not having caffeine for me was a lot
more than a little pinch. So I encourage you to start by cutting
out some of the unnecessary noisiness and distractions in life to quiet your
heart and be present to God and your surroundings. Second: it should be
a penance for you and not for others. One of the things I like to remind people of
as they’re deciding what to do or stop from doing during the season, is
the penance you choose should not make you a penance for others. The point of
penance is to open space in our hearts and in our lives for God better enter in
and where we can strengthen the relationship we have with him. Now, it turned out that I
was miserable without my coffee and I’m told that that rubbed off on the people
I was around. Third: your penance should be something that you are able to
sustain throughout the entirety of Lent. Now it turned out going coffee-free
wasn’t something I could keep up through all of Lent. God wants us to seek Him, so
when deciding how to pray, fast, and give alms this Lent, it’s best to do it how
God wants, which means listening to his voice.

4 thoughts on “What Should I Do for Lent?

  1. "Penance shouldn't make you a penance for others" I love this and helped me decide what to give up for Lent! Thank you so much!

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