Lent is all about three areas of the Christian life: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. To live the season of Lent well, we need to make a concrete plan to add something from each category to our everyday lives. Lent is more than forty days of hardship; Lent is for becoming a holier, more joyful person. Here are our top tips for resetting your life with resolutions to pray, fast, and give alms on this year’s Lenten journey.
One way to reinvigorate your prayer life is by adding spiritual reading to your daily routine. Maybe you already have a book that you’ve been meaning to start for weeks – Lent is your chance to commit to it. If you don’t have anything to read, there are plenty of free online resources that you can peruse from your phone over a morning coffee.
Too busy to sit down and read? You can also engage more deeply in prayer by listening to a short meditation, like one from this The Way of the Cross mini-series, on your commute or while you clean dishes in the evening. These meditations will center your day on Christ and keep your conversation with God focused.
Dedicating a set, scheduled amount of time to pray each day is the best way to form lifelong prayer habits this Lent.
Fasting and abstinence
St. Josemaria Escriva said, “If you don’t deny yourself, you will never be a soul of prayer” (The Way, 172). Once your daily prayer routine is in full swing, it needs to be supported by fasting and abstinence. During Lent, Catholics abstain from meat on every Friday and on the days of fasting, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
If you have the ability and the will, you can go above and beyond those set days. Maybe this Lent is the time to commit to one day of fasting every week or more than one day without meat each week. The best way to power through the sting of hunger that comes with these resolutions is to attach them to specific and meaningful intentions. You will be amazed at what you are capable of once you delve into fasting this Lent!
How many coffees do you buy each week? Lent is a time for saying no to good things and for getting in the habit of donating to those in need. If you don’t already donate or you are trying to start the habit, consider donating just the amount of money that you spend on coffee each week to the poor this Lent.
Giving money to the poor, to Catholic organizations and to the Church is important, but it’s not always in the budget. If times are tough, don’t worry. You might be able to donate your time instead by visiting the elderly or helping a neighbor shovel their driveway.
This Lent, pick two or three resolutions and stick to them for all forty days! This time of penance has the power to transform your life.
If you found this blog helpful, share it with your family and friends to help them live Lent well!