Lenten Preparation

As Lent quickly approaches (February 22!), the topic has come up in our February round of Lay Canossian meetings: 

‘What spiritual practices should we take on during the season of Lent?’

Many voices have agreed, it’s not enough to ‘give up’ something, like we did as kids denying ourselves the pleasure of our favorite candy bar. As we grow in our spiritual life, we are called to take to heart the words in 1 Corinthians 13:11:

“When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.”

So then, what is appropriate spiritual practice for a mature Catholic during the weeks of Lent? I will start our discussion here with a few suggestions, and I encourage all of you to add to the discussion below in the comments section.

So let’s get started!

1. Prayer

  • Set up a regular time of prayer each day, and a place where you will not be distracted by TV, computer, or phone. Set an amount of time for your prayer, and stay faithful.
  • Take part in the Friday Stations of the Cross at your parish. Use the time driving to the parish as a time asking God to prepare your heart to meet Him on the way to Calvary.
  • Pray the Seven Sorrows of Mary (I will link the Seven Sorrows this week)
  • Other Recommendations?

2. Sacraments

Use the time of Lent to grow closer to Jesus in the Sacraments.

  • Spend time before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, meditating on His True Presence.
  • Go more often to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, remembering this too is an encounter with Christ.
  • Receive Holy Communion more often.
  • Other Ideas?

3.  Service – how to share your time with those in need.

  • visit the sick, feed the hungry, encourage the downhearted. Review the Church’s spiritual and corporal works of mercy and practice one a week.
  • call to mind often the many ways that you can daily serve the Lord in your family. Grow daily in your intention to do so.
  • is there a ministry you’ve been thinking about getting involved in? look into it this Lent.

One other practice we discussed in a couple of the groups was, to think about a vice – or bad habit – you might have that you would like to change, and put into practice the corresponding virtue.

Here are the seven “deadly” sins (vices) paired with their corresponding “heavenly” virtue. All other vices will fall somewhere under one of these seven. For example, anger (wrath) calls us to practice patience. For more information on these, you can click the links below, or go here for virtues and vice.

Vice Latin Virtue Latin
Lust Luxuria Chastity Castitas
Gluttony Gula Temperance Temperantia
Greed Avaritia Charity Caritas
Sloth Socordia Diligence Industria
Wrath Ira Patience Patientia
Envy Invidia Kindness Humanitas
Pride Superbia Humility Humilitas

AND, lastly, don’t forget about our Lenten Retreat with Rev. Father Jeremy Leatherby! Find out more here!

Remember, all of the above are only suggestions!  It is not expected that someone try and do ALL of these (that would be too much!). It is best to take one or two things – perhaps that you know will help you grow spiritually – and focus on them.

Our Foundress, Saint Magdalene would tell you, ‘there is enough penance in living our life well that we don’t have to take on harsh penances‘. Each of us is different, and so our Lenten practice must reflect where we know we need to grow the most.

Now, I’ll turn it over to YOU!  What above are you going to try? And/or, what other things do you have planned to make your Lent a meaningful one?

United in Prayer,

Sr Lisa Marie : )

13 thoughts on “Lenten Preparation

  1. Yes, Lent is a time for penitential preparation; what can I give up or do to show my love of Christ Crucified? Here is what can also be put into action:

    * Spend time in prayer with family or loved one at least once a week, if not every day.
    * Take the time once a week to call a friend or family member that you have not spoken to for a long while. Invite them to Mass or Stations of the Cross.
    * Carry fruit and extra water in your car and offer it to someone in need while on your day’s journey.
    * Collect all of your change during the Lenten season and offer it to the Lay Canossian Association or your church.
    * Have a yard sale and give all proceeds to the Lay Canossian Association or your church.
    * Spend time once a week with an elderly family member or friend; go out of your way to do something special for them.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. I liked your article on lenten practices. The best I have read in awhile. Every year I look for new ways to observe Lent. I personally cut out eating any kind of pork during lent for over 20 years. I eat lighter. I give more to charity and become more aware of my walk with our Lord through prayer and reading the scriptures. Lent can and should be a very special time of growth and reflection for all believers. Leading up to that glorious Easter Sunday morning. Jesus is Lord.

    • Thank you, John, for sharing your Lenten practices. Changing our routine over this special time of preparation for Easter helps us walk closer to the Lord. I like idea of cutting out pork (or some other food group completely); it becomes a little reminder that these days are not like any other. It helps us to be attentive. God bless!

  3. Several years ago, I promised to attend Daily Mass at least 2 times a week during Lent. I wasn’t ready to commit to the 5 days of the work week. As the 40 days passed, I found myself heading to church for lunch nearly each day of work. Once Easter arrived, I continued. I love Daily Mass and am so thankful I work near a church now with lunchtime Mass so I can again attend Daily Mass for Lent.

    • That’s very similar to how I became a daily communicant before I became a Sister. The Lord slowly helped me wade into the water, and I quickly grew to enjoy it. I hope more people will take advantage of this Lenten season to discover the joy of daily coming before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament! Blessed preparation Kristan!

  4. This year i am increasing my prayer time and also trying to be creative with it

    I have made a chart and and i have 47 squares on it and during my time of prayer i am going to draw a prayer I have also brought a book of reflection on the book of Jonah

    It is a great article

    you are a gifted writer

  5. We do various practices (prayer, fasting, almsgiving), during Lent in order to increase our faith in the one who told us to do them. Why are we urged to engage in these practices? The shortest and most satisfying answer is that Jesus did so, and we are his disciples.. But another response is that these three behaviors increase our faith. Prayer- allows us more time to grow close to Jesus and access him in a conscious and disciplined way. Fasting –
    opens us up to the deepest hunger of the soul. It links us to our concern to those who are forced to fast by proverty, injustices suffered because of economic or political structures. Almsgiving-the giving of alms or care for those in need is something we do because we are members of a body. Christ’s body affects everyone who shares the mystical life. Lent is a time of our expressions of our gratitude for all that God has given us. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving ties us to our batismal promise. So whatever one decides to do let it be a journey into the inner self, into the desert with Jesus. “In the Greatest Love.”

    • Thank you, Brenda, for pointing out the importance of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, the three staples of the Christian life. As for the “Greatest Love”, the Canossian Sisters posted on their blog, looking at Saint Magdalene’s imperative, “Inpice et Fac“, Look and do according to the example, Jesus Christ Crucified. Enjoy!

  6. Last Lent, I decided to read Anne Catherine Emmerich’s, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing myself to be a slow reader and rarely to finish a book, I took the time to calculate how many pages I’d need to read each day, six days with Sundays to catch up, and wrote a daily plan on a piece of paper that I used as a bookmark.
    I was so moved by this book and felt so close to our Lord as Good Friday approached and then Easter Sunday, that I’ve decided to take this journey with Anne Catherine Emmerich every Lent.

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