How is your Lent going? Did you choose to give something up for Lent or chose to give something to another like participating in Operation Rice Bowl? If you’re not sure what to do here are some ideas from El Retiro’s blog adapted from Renee Laureau:
- Make a commitment to read the Sunday scriptures before you go to Mass. In the same way that reading up on football players, opposing teams, and coaching strategies will help you experience a game more fully, familiarizing yourself with the readings ahead of time will help you experience them in a deeper way on Sunday.
- Think about what you spend your money on. Do you buy too many clothes? Spend too much on dinner out? Pick one type of expenditure that you’ll “fast” from during Lent, and then give the money you would usually spend to a local charity such as CRS Operation Rice Bowl.
- Take something on – 26 days of letter writing, 26 acts of kindness, or 26 phone calls to the important people in your life.
- When you first sit down in front of your computer at work, or at the very end of your work day, try a 10-minute guided prayer from Sacred Space based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.
- Go to a weekday Mass one day during the week. At Saint Anthony, Mass is at 8:15 AM. Other parishes offer them early in the morning, at noon, or after work. Daily Masses are often more intimate and shorter than Sunday Mass.
- Unplug from your iPhone or turn off your car radio on your commute. The silence may be jarring at first, but you may find that you are able to concentrate better and will be more observant of your surroundings.
- Think about a habit that has kept you from being whom God is calling you to be. Consciously give up that habit for Lent.
- Make a commitment to fast from insensitive comments about others.
- As a part of your Lenten almsgiving, make a point to learn more about a particular social issue (immigration, human trafficking, racism, the environment, public education, child poverty). Give money to an organization related to your chosen issue that supports the dignity of the human person.
- Pray for somebody. As you’re walking the streets, driving the highways, or sitting in your cubicle at work, pick out a person who appears to be in need and pray for that person. Be mindful of the words of philosopher Philo of Alexandria, who said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”
- Celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Can’t remember how? There is a simple guide with some tips in the vestibule. Tell the priest it’s been a while, and ask him to guide you through it.