I have been contemplating how to approach this lenten season. Like many, as you grow older, not choosing chocolate to give up becomes more difficult. Part of this has to do with the fact that honestly, being creative for lent is difficult. Usually it takes me a week into lent in order to settle into whatever ascetic practices or mortifications I’ve taken on for lent. Many times in a prideful way I take on things too difficult, too ascetic, too ‘showy’.
In all reality that is precisely what lent is about, it is about a struggle of humility realizing one’s dependance and reaffirming that dependance on God. Failure is part of ascetic practices or mortifications (fasting). Without moving, without trying and striving for God, without striving for virtue we become stagnated. Failure in our fast only further confirms the need for prayer and the need for God’s grace in our lives in order to be successful. It is no longer enough to simply exist at Church on Sunday, God is a reality that transcends every piece of our lives and what we call reality itself. To not believe in God is irrational because reality itself depends upon God. This is how serious our relationship should be, this is what our faith ought to reflect. Without humble failings we have no opportunity of realizing this very fact of life. As in John’s Gospel Jesus Says “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6).
Here are some further ideas to keep your lent moving though this season of penitence towards a spiritual reawakening and renewal:
Of course one may select and choose any of these ideas, this is only a brainstorming list. Remember one’s prayer life should fit their vocation like a glove. This is to say that prayer is definitely necessary throughout the day (as St. Paul says 'Pray at all times' with 'blessings always on our lips'), yet the method and devotion of how prayer is practiced throughout the day may be different for each person according to their vocation. Have a happy and holy lent!
Husband & father of four, graduate from Quincy University and currently a grad student at Franciscan University. Director of Faith Formation & Youth Ministry for All Saints Parish since 2011.