Wednesday, February 22, 2012

40 Lenten Ideas

What are you doing for Lent?” is a common question among Catholics. Tired of reverting back to “I’m going to give up soda for Lent”? Here are some ideas to sacrifice, strengthen your relationship with Christ and foster a better prayer life. If you have more, please share in the comment section.
  1. Take 30 minutes to pray, ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance, look over this list, and make a few practical Lenten resolutions. Be careful. If you try to do too much, you may not succeed in anything! If you need to get up early or stay up late to get the 30 minutes of quiet, do it. Turn off your phone and computer. Don’t put it off and don’t allow interruptions. 
  2. Get up earlier than anyone else in your house and spend your first 15 minutes of the day thanking God for the gift of life and offering your day to Him. 
  3. Get to daily Mass. 
  4. If you can’t do daily Mass, go to Mass on Fridays in addition to Sunday and thank Him for laying his life down for you. Maybe you can go another time or two as well. 
  5. Spend at least 30 minutes in Eucharistic adoration at least one time during the week. 
  6. Recover the Catholic tradition of making frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament throughout the week, even if it is only for 5 minutes. 
  7. Get to confession at least once during the Season of Lent after making a good examination of conscience. 
  8. In addition to the penance assigned by the priest, fulfill the conditions necessary for a plenary indulgence. You can learn about plenary indulgences from the official Handbook of Indulgences.
  9. Make a decision to read at least some Scripture every day. Starting with Today's!
  10. Even if you can’t get to daily Mass during the Lenten Season, get a Daily Roman Missal or visit a link to the Daily Mass readings. 
  11. Pray the Liturgy of the Hours. You can get it day by day online at www.universalis.com.
  12. Get to know the Fathers of the Church and read selections from them along with Scripture. Short selections from the Fathers writing on Lenten themes can be downloaded from the Lenten Library at www.crossroadsintiative.com
  13. Make the Stations of the Cross each Friday of the Season of Lent either with a group or by yourself. If you have kids, bring them. 
  14. Pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary often during Lent, especially on Friday and Wednesday. The glorious mysteries are especially appropriate on Sundays. Joyful and Luminous mysteries are great on other days. 
  15. If you’ve never done a family rosary, begin doing it. If starting with once a week, try Friday or Sunday. If it’s tough to start with a full five decades, try starting with one. Use the Scriptural Rosary and have a different person read each of the Scriptures between the Hail Marys. This gets everyone more involved. 
  16. Make it a habit to stop at least five times a day, raise your heart and mind to God, and say a short prayer such as “Jesus, I love you,” or “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” or “Lord, I offer it up for you.” 
  17. Incorporate the color purple into your home, office, and church. A simple purple candle or orchid or note card with a verse can remind you of the season and help keep you focused. 
  18. Pray each day for the intentions and health of the Holy Father. 
  19. Find a form of fasting that is appropriate for you, given your age, state of health, and state of life. 
  20. Plan a retreat this Lent. It could be simply a half day, out in nature, or in a Church. Or it could be a full day. Or an overnight. 
  21. Find a written biography of a Saint that particularly appeals to you, and read it during the Season of Lent. 
  22. Instead of secular videos for weekend entertainment, try some videos that will enrich your spiritual life. 
  23. While driving, turn off the secular radio for awhile and use commute time to listen to some teaching on audio-cassette or CD. 
  24. Unplug—TV, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, etc. at least once a week during Lent. This is perhaps the single best way to carve out some extra time in your day for prayer and meditation. 
  25. Find a local homeless shelter, soup kitchen, crisis pregnancy center, at a nursing home or in the hospital or sick at home and volunteer some time there throughout Lent. Serve the people there with the understanding that in so doing, you are serving Jesus. Try to see Jesus in each person there. 
  26. Spend some focused time with your spouse, strengthening your marriage. Start praying together, or make praying together a more frequent occurrence. 
  27. Spend some focused time together with each of your children. Listen. Pray. Maybe even have fun. 
  28. Call a relative with who you have been out of contact with. 
  29. Say a special Rosary for the unborn. 
  30. Control the media you watch and listen to. A diet of amoral and immoral programs can and will corrupt your values. 
  31. Invite a non-practicing friend to Mass with you. 
  32. Give a donation to charity. 
  33. Think of a person with whom you have a strained relationship and make some gesture toward improving that relationship. 
  34. Plant a seed or bulb and watch it develop through the spring. Pray for your own spiritual growth. 
  35. Pray a rosary for the conversion of all who are far from the Lord. 
  36. Do a 40-day purge of all your excess stuff and donate the best of it to Goodwill or a local thrift store that benefits your neighbors. 
  37. Write a handwritten note every day to encourage, thank or show someone your love and appreciation. 
  38. Be generous with your compliments during Lent, especially to those who appear to be "down". 
  39. Pray for RCIA Catechumens and Candidates. 
  40. When Easter comes, don’t drop the new practice you’ve begun during the Season Lent! Make a permanent feature of a deeper Christian life!

2 comments: