Practical Tips for Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It begins six weeks of attempting to deepen our relationship with Jesus, Lent is the prelude for the celebration of his passion, death, and resurrection that saved all humankind, including you.

Usually people give up things as their Lenten practice, things like candy and TV. All of us forego eating meat on the Fridays of Lent, which isn’t much of a sacrifice for those of us who love lobster, shrimp, fish, and mac and cheese. Some people resolve to improve their life by exercising or walking outside. This is good for their physical life. Better to make resolutions that benefit our spiritual life.

Here are a ten ideas:

  1. Become more aware of God’s love and care for you by paying attention to signs during the day. Did you almost fall, but somehow caught yourself? Did a friend from your past call you out of the blue? Did you unexpectedly meet someone who gave you good advice or a helping hand? Each evening you might review the day and record these signs in a special notebook.

2. If your parish has exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, make time to go there and be in the presence of your Savior. Otherwise, come early for Mass or stay awhile afterward to spend extra time with him.

3. At times during the day recall God around you and within you. Decide on a clue to help you remember, like every time you open a door or drawer or walk up or down steps.

4. Make a new friend, someone you can share faith with, someone who will enrich your life and help you to be a better person.

5. Keep a Bible on your pillow and read and reflect on a short passage each day. Or join or begin a Bible study group.

6. Carve out at least five minutes each day when you will be still and silent and just give God a chance to speak to you.

7. Choose a work of mercy and practice it, aware that what you do for another Jesus regards as being done to him.

8. Find a good spiritual book or two or three and read them, for instance, one of mine!

9. Pray the rosary every day, at least a decade, remembering to reflect on its mysteries about Jesus and Mary.

10. Participate in any special Lenten programs your parish holds, maybe the Stations of the Cross.

May your Lenten practices deepen your spiritual life and bring you closer to God so that on Easter Sunday when we celebrate the glorious new life of Jesus, you are a renewed person!

Here is a moving hymn as a reminder of why we observe Lent:

• What Lenten practice would you recommend?

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