by Ms. Meanne M. Mijares
We are given 40 days to emulate our Lord Jesus Christ’s time of prayer and fasting in the desert. (Luke 4:1-2) This is a good time to practice new forms of sacrifice to deepen our prayer life and devotion to Him and the Blessed Mother. Here are seven ways to make the most out of the Lenten season not only this year but also in the years to come
- Fast on Fridays
The Church commands us to abstain only two days each year—Ash Wednesday and Good Friday—but we can certainly undertake this remorseful sacrifice more frequently. Make it a practice to eat only bread and water or to drink only liquids until dinner on Fridays during Lent. (Remember that self-restraint from meat is required of Catholics on Lenten Fridays.) Make it a Meatless Friday.
- Contemplate on the Stations of the Cross
Most parishes pray the Stations on Fridays during Lent as a family or a group. If you are unable to attend, look for some quiet time during the week to visit your church and prayerfully follow Jesus in these 14 events of His Passion and Crucifixion.
- Carry out on a Weekly Holy Hour
Devoting an hour in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament is so pleasing to our Savior and Lord. “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.” (Matthew 26:40-41) If you find this a new practice worth doing, an online search or a visit to a Catholic bookstore will turn up many sources for prayers and devotionals for a blessed and quality-filled Holy Hour.
- Live out Charity
Charity means the love of God. It is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It may be in word or much better, a concrete deed. Go through your wardrobes and food cupboard to find clothes, toys, provisions, groceries and other stuff to offer to the poor. You might also want to lend your time to a charity ward or pay a visit to the sick in a hospital or nursing home. Perhaps you can surrender some luxury or habit during Lent and make a donation with the money you saved. A good example is the Church’s Fast to Feed program. You may also wish to abstain from gossip, cuss words, fits of anger, self-pity and meddling in people’s affairs that are not your concern.
- Read through the Gospels
Ask the Holy Spirit to lend you a hand to distinguish, comprehend and live the Word of God as you prayerfully study the gospels. Devote more time in prayer and introspection as you read the four different versions of Jesus’ Passion and death.
- Learn about a New Saint
The saints are our inspiring heroes and heroines in faith. They are ordinary people who live out extraordinary virtue and can move us to do the same. During Lent, discover a saint who strongly draws your attention and learn more about his or her life and times. Ask this particular saint to pray and intercede for you.
- Disconnect One Day a Week
Choose a day each week to avoid traditional or social media in your home or work life. Turn off the TV, shut down the computer and use your phone only for urgent situations or important calls. No uploading of photos and selfies or #ootd’s! Delight in the silence and use that extra special time to put yourself in the presence of Our Lord or simply bless your family or yourself by gladly doing extra errands or making a special home-cooked spread and refreshment.
Although some of them may be quite challenging, it would be worthwhile to incorporate a few of these practices even after the Holy Week. Then your life will never be the same. Don’t you agree?
Have a more meaningful Lenten season and a blessed Easter Sunday celebration!