(What? Two posts in one day? High five!)
I figure I should give a little intro into Lent, seeing as today is Shrove Tuesday (or Mardi Gras, or Carnival, or whatever you want to call it. The day before Lent.)
What is Lent?
Lent used to be the season between winter and summer. (Apparently in Dutch, “lente” is still used as their word for spring.) In the Church, Lent is like our own spiritual spring. It is a season of soul-searching and repentance as we prepare ourselves for Easter, and our Redemption. Lent is a time for refinement, sacrifice, repentance and growth. It is also symbolic to the 40 days that Jesus spend in the desert fasting, facing temptations and preparing for his public ministry.
If I’m going to use the cheesy analogy of the seed, (and I will), lent is like our germination stage. We are waiting in the wilderness for 40 days, in the dark of our sin, until the day we can break through to the surface and see the light of day. Just as fire that passes over a seed and opens it up to new life; through sacrificing, fasting, acknowledgement of our sinfulness and repentance, we can open up to become something (or rather someone) better.
Christ is our New Life. He is our Spring.
What can you do during Lent?
There is an abundance of things you can do to prepare for Easter. Everything from praying more regularly, to giving something up (by it something like television or a food,) to volunteering for the poor, to going to confession once a week, are great options. Here is a list of other ideas with some great reflections to make before choosing one or some ideas. Depending on where you are in your faith and what aspects of your life/spiritual life needs work there are a ton of different things to do.
A few things I’m going to work on are
- Really working on more strict Friday fasting
- Daily prayer
- Read some Classics (ones with some Catholic undertones)
- Exercise more
- Attend one weekday mass (apart from Sunday liturgies)
- More family time. (ie: less TV, computer, phone distractions)
- Be more thankful
- Declutter (loosely following this)
- Do the little things with love
(Yeah not a terrible list hey? Reading? Exercise? All pretty fun.)
I am also going to be using these 40 days of Lent to help teach Andrew about Kindness although random acts of kindness is sort of out of the question. Even though kids are definitely random, kindness is not really part of that. We will be encouraging to share with his little brother the first time we ask. Also, we will be acknowledging all the times he does something kind like tell someone he loves them, gives a hug, helps out etc. Then at the end of the day, we will add his kindness to our thank-you prayers. (Something along the lines of “We are thankful for all the times Andrew was kind for Jesus.”)
I think the hardest part is remembering to do all things with Love. Good thing my patron saint for 2013 is Therese of Lisieux. I need all the help I can get doing “the little things with great love.”
Don’t forget to check out any reflections made by Amanda. She wrote today about how Lent begins with decluttering.