This year I was feeling a bit overwhelmed facing down the Lenten season. It felt like one more thing on my to-do list. But after praying about that I realized that some of the difficult things in the family (lots of illness and joblessness for many loved ones), and in the world (you name it, just watch the news channels and you will have an instant call to prayer), and elsewhere (lots of deadlines and pending work) were weighing heavy.
Lent was not coming to weigh me down — it was coming to lighten my load through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. So all the more reason to GO BIG. Make a splash by calling on ALL the GRACES.
So I went to confession this past weekend. I made a fasting plan. I made a schedule. I’m engaging Lent, embracing it. And it requires some disengagement from other distractions that I’ve been having.
In the end, it’s not about how I feel, its about how I respond. If I do the right things I’m called to, my heart will follow.
OK Jesus – here we go!
Let us pray for one another, shall we?
I’ve compiled good stuff that might help inspire you along the way.
Learn how to pray the Rosary.
Learn how to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
Join an online retreat with Authors Vinita Hampton Wright and Kerry Weber
If you live in the Archdiocese of Boston, there’s confession everywhere… many places around the country are doing the same.
READ and USE these Resources:
Get a printable Lenten calendar from the USCCB, with great suggestions for living every day.
Why Do Catholics Practice Fasting and Abstinence? by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff
5 Reasons to Love Fasting by Matthew Warner (I love #4!)
Fasting suggestions from Life Teen
Get daily Lenten reflections from the late great Fr Henri Nouwen in your email.
Watch The Power and Purpose of Confession, a video with Johnnette Benkovic and Fr Mitch Pacwa. (an oldie from 2008)
Catholic Vote has 40 Things You Should Give Up for Lent
40 Ways to Give during Lent, from the gals at Sound Mind and Spirit blog
Simcha Fisher recommends quality spiritual reading at her Register blog.
Find great soups and inspiration for Lent from The Practicing Catholic’s series “Soup and Stories.“
100 Things to Do for Lent by Meg Hunter-Kilmer
The award for the most-comprehensive-Lenten-Mega-Post goes to Aggie Catholics for the most resources in one place - you’ll find something there that you like, for sure!
The Social Media Scene:
If you are not fasting from social media, make your social media count!
Follow Pope Francis on Twitter. Oh, and there’s this:
Will you help us trend #ashtag tomorrow? Take a forehead selfie after Mass, and post it to social media to tell the world it’s Lent!
— Matt Swaim (@mattswaim) March 4, 2014
Finally, some Podcasts:
Of course, there’s Among Women…
AW 175: The newest episode is “An Appointment with God”. This features a chat with Allison Gingras about her story of growing in relationship with Christ. It also profiles Mary Clopas, friend of Jesus and Mary, and mother to James the apostle, bishop, and writer of an Epistle.
From the archives: AW 126: Special Editon for Lent — AW listeners share their favorite Lenten practices
iPadre Podcast: Fr Jay Finelli has been podcasting for years!
About the Photo above– that’s a photo I took at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. Take a virtual tour.