Prepare for an Amazing Lent: A Simple, Catholic Guide to Help You
Growing up, I missed the true point of giving something up during Lent. (Or maybe I just ignored it because I liked cookies so much…) Once I found out that Sundays were not technically part of the 40 days of Lent, whenever I would fast from cookies or candy during Lent, I would save whatever I would have eaten during the week and eat most or all of it on Sunday. As a result, I looked forward to Sundays more than I focused on growing in my faith.
Lent is the time in the Church year when we prepare for Jesus’ suffering, death, and Resurrection. The purpose of Lent is to help us grow in our faith and become spiritually stronger. We have the opportunity during Lent to spend time in the desert with Jesus.
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Three parts of Lent
Traditionally, Catholics spiritually prepare during Lent through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We can do all three (pray, fast, and give alms), two of these, or just one.
Which one should you do? Should you do all of them? One of them? Do what you did last year? Try something different than last year? A lot of questions can swirl around in your mind before Lent as you try to figure out what to do!
What can you do to prepare for an amazing Lent?
There are two things you can do to figure out how to spend your Lent: Pray about it and discern where in your life you need to grow or change. Pray and ask God to enlighten your mind and heart to what you should do for Lent. Give yourself time to pray and listen. God may not answer you in one day or give you an obvious answer. He may quietly shine a light in an area of your life that He wants you to focus on. Trust in Him to guide you.
Prayer is communication with God.
Take time to look at how you communicate with God in your life right now. Is your prayer life currently what you want for it to be like?
What changes can you make to improve your prayer life? You don’t need to make a big change for it to be a worthwhile one. Is there a prayer you have been wanting to pray, but have never prayed? Lent may be the perfect opportunity for you to begin praying it. Do you just want to make more time for prayer in your daily life? Set your timer for 5-15 minutes a day and pray.
Make a plan about what prayer you want to pray or what you want to pray about, what time each day or each week you will pray, and where you will pray. When you plan ahead, you are setting yourself up for success. As Lent goes on, you can evaluate your plan. Is it working for you? If not, make any necessary changes.
Remember, the purpose of prayer is to bring you closer to God. You keep our mind and heart turned to Him when you pray. Even 5 more minutes a day is helpful. Make sure your prayer goal is going to help draw you closer to God, not cause extra frustration or feelings of being overwhelmed in your day. Set a reasonable plan in place that may be a bit challenging, but not overwhelming or unrealistic for you.