Feb 13, 2013
40 Ways To Live Lent!
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent for Catholics. It's a time for prayer, penance and almsgiving. For Catholics in 2013, this Lent will be a special period of reflection as this journey will also include the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the conclave to elect a new Pontiff. This increased focus both in the Catholic community and the global media, will allow us to reflect on our own faith journey in a unique way this year.
So as in the past, we're providing 40 ways in random order to Live Lent faithfully, lovingly and without counting the cost.
1. Wear your ashes proudly - all day. On the bus, in the workplace, everywhere you go.
2. A more intentional prayer life - consider morning, mid-day and evening prayer.
3. Read a good book on spirituality, one that will enrich your spiritual journey.
4. Make a prayer basket at home - slips of paper or construction paper hearts (invite kids to participate) writing names or intentions that each person around the table picks out before each meal.
5. Attend weekday mass.
6. Say the rosary - even better if you don't mind bringing out your beads in public - on the bus, coffee shop or anywhere else people gather.
7. Make a point of experiencing the sacrament of reconciliation at the beginning and end of Lent at minimum. Consider inviting someone who's been away from the sacrament to join you, perhaps on March 6 for our Day of Confessions throughout the archdiocese.
8. Tell someone you're praying for them.
9. Don't tell someone you're praying for them and pray for them.
10. Give up meat on Fridays but don't substitute lobster - make fasting something that is truly sacrificial.
11. Read through the entire Archdiocese of Toronto Pastoral Plan (www.archtoronto.org/pastoral) and consider how you can help bring it to life in using your gifts and talents.
12. Rumours, gossip, negative chatter that devalues others ends at your doorstep.
13. Begin and end each week with an email thanking someone for all that they do.
14. Be sure to say grace at any restaurant you frequent (don't dodge making the Sign of the Cross either)
15. Buy a coffee for someone living on the street but not until you learn their name and something about them.
16. Pray before the Blessed Sacrament.
17. Reconcile with someone you've hurt or aren't speaking to.
18. Invite someone who's been away from the church to attend mass with you.
19. Write a letter to a political leader on an issue you're passionate about.
20. Donate to charity - make a sacrificial gift not what's "left over" (remember the ShareLife campaign is underway).
21. Attend a lecture or public discussion centred on faith issues.
22. Thank a bishop, priest or member of a religious congregation for their public witness - invite them out for coffee or a meal.
23. Participate in the 40 Days for Life or other pro-life initiative.
24. Learn about the lives of the saints especially your parish saint.
25. Visit someone who's alone.
26. Consider a new liturgical experience - attend mass in the extraordinary form, an eastern rite service, etc.
27. Reflect on the most poignant moment of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy and pray for the College of Cardinals as they select a new Pontiff.
28. Pray the Stations of the Cross.
29. Find something you admire in someone you dislike.
30. Send a note of encouragement to someone who is participating in the RCIA program.
31. Get involved in Refugee Sponsorship at your local parish or contact the Office for Refugees to offer assistance.
32. At your parish Good Friday service, cram 3 more people than is comfortable in your pew to give them a spot to sit. Better yet give up your seat for them.
33. Attend Lectio Divina.
34. Make time for family activities that are faith related.
35. Express your appreciation to someone in your parish who goes the extra mile - a lector, usher, pastoral associate, etc.
36. Journal about your spiritual highs/lows.
37. Pray for vocations.
38. Make a playlist of spiritual music that you enjoy and share it with a friend.
39. Embrace periods of silence in each day.
40. Invite someone you know will be alone to your home for Easter Sunday dinner.
So there's a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing. Lent - it's here, it's on. Let's raise the bar this time around. Just maybe some of these new habits will last beyond these 40 days. So let's get to it...