Thursday, February 12, 2009

LENT is fast approaching!

{update: 3/1/09} For Lent, I've decided to post my favorite scripture on the bathroom mirror, refrain from eating ice cream, and continue to read the daily readings online. I'm also pursuing a service opportunity, which will hopefully begin soon.


Ash Wednesday will be here in twelve days. E-e-e-e-k! That means that, if you're a practicing Catholic like I am, it's time to start thinking about what you're going to do this Lent--or as is often the case--NOT do this Lent.

In this past Sunday's bulletin, Julie McCarty, a freelance writer from Minnesota, wrote an article entitled, Practical Tips on Spring Training for the Soul During Lent. In this article, Ms. McCarty writes about Lenten penances--some of which backfire--such as giving up your favorite cookies, only to take up binge chip and dip eating instead.

Which begs an important question: "What is the point of Lenten penances?" According to the article, Lenten penances give us an opportunity to improve ourselves. Lent is a time where we engage in the"bodybuilding of the soul, stretching and developing our spiritual muscles" by participating in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Above all, though, we must "keep our eyes fixed on two main goals: to love God and to love neighbor more fully."

Ms. McCarty describes her favorite Lenten practice: fasting from TV for 40 days. While I don't watch much television (the only weekly show I currently watch is Brothers & Sisters), I have a feeling this would be no easy feat. (When I approached Brian about fasting from TV, he started cracking up...there's NO way he could give up TV! He'd miss O'Reilly and Hannity way too much!)

If you can't stomach the idea of cutting TV from your life, here is a list of additional Lenten practices from Ms. McCarty's article. (I've tacked on a few additional thoughts in italics.)
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Prayer
*Attach a favorite prayer or Scripture verse to your bathroom mirror, praying it as you brush your teeth each day. (I'm going to do this one!)

*Read a spiritual classic or a book of the Bible. (Or--do as I do--and click HERE for the daily readings and video reflections!)

*Set your alarm for an earlier time so you can pray in quiet.

* Pray the Stations of the Cross with your parish community. (Holy Family Catholic Church puts on a profoundly moving outdoor Stations of the Cross. If you live in the Sacramento area, you should join us! Date: TBA.)

Fasting
*Eliminate some of the unnecessary noise in your life. Silence promotes interior growth. (Love this one!)

*In restaurants, drink water instead of soda and put a dollar or two in your fund for the poor.

*Fast from wild, rude behavior on the roadway.

Almsgiving
*Offer to drive a homebound person to church services.

*Select one evening per week to spend quality time with family or an aging neighbor.

*Show affection by giving your significant other or spouse a "no reason" hug or kiss every day.

*Volunteer at a soup kitchen. (Or a nursing home. Or a women's shelter. Or a school.)
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What are YOU planning to do this Lent?!

P.S. The beautiful wooden cross--pictured at the beginning of this post--was hanging from a fence at the entrance to a church yard in the Tuscan hills in Florence, Italy. I snapped this picture while Brian and I were taking a short break during a 15-mile group bike ride through the region.

1 comment:

firefighterbri said...

You forgot to mention I can't miss watching baseball, as the season rapidly approaches, and golf.

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