Lent is here and all I want to do is shout the A-word! If you are recoiling in horror at this, then let me clarify.
During the Church season of Lent, Catholics refrain from using the word alleluia until Easter. The word means “Praise be to God!” and is not only an expression of joy but should permeate all of one’s life. As Saint Augustine wrote, “The Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot!” Because Easter is a celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, it is especially dramatic to hear alleluia song after fasting from using the word for 40 days.
Lent is one of my favorite seasons, and I rejoice in this time that the Church sets aside to reflect, repent, and renew. One important thing that I am going to do this season is to return to my spiritual reading. It’s a good thing for all of us to read regularly books or articles that inspire us and teach us about God and the spiritual life. But it’s all too easy to put that book aside as soon as life gets busy, which is what has happened with me. I miss my spiritual reading and so I’m going to make a point of returning to it and incorporating what I read in my life and prayer.
I’m also going to fast from using the car as my main source of travel. I haven’t quite worked this out, but I am going to walk and bike more for local trips instead of using the car. And I hope to get my car usage down to once or twice a week at most.
What are your hopes for this Lenten season? Are you taking on anything or fasting from anything? Let us know in the comments below.
And, if you’d like to know more about the season, my friend Joe (a Catholic catechist) put together a great Lent FAQ video.
Paula Wethington / Monroe on a Budget February 26, 2009 at 6:04 am
I’m walking too! Goal: 65 miles between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.
Annie February 26, 2009 at 6:38 am
I have never done much spiritual reading. Recently, I discovered a bookshop in my city that sells foreign books, and have begun again to read in Spanish. Last week I bought the autobiography of St. Thresa of Jesus. The 16th century Spanish makes it rough going for me, but I am overwhelmed by her honesty about her personal and spiritual life, especially when I think of the recent epidemic of false memoirs. I hope to finish it in time for Easter.
Courtney February 26, 2009 at 7:28 am
This year, in addition to fasting from certain foods – which I shouldn’t be eating regardless of the time of year;) – I’m abstaining from complaining. Whenever I verbally, or mentally, find myself making a negative remark, I to catch myself right away, and say a silent prayer in penance. I know it’s just the start of Lent, but this practice has already made me so aware of my thought patterns. I really want to be rid of negative mental chatter by Easter.
MK February 26, 2009 at 4:52 pm
I’m abstaining from meat all the days of Lent – and blogging about it on my food blog, Mother’s Kitchen. Check it out for some good Lent friendly recipes!
Lauren February 26, 2009 at 5:51 pm
I’m abstaining from beef (I’m trying to get away from it altogether) and Sour Cream and Onion potato chips.
Marylin February 26, 2009 at 6:28 pm
Our priest always has a fantastic homily the week before Lent starts. I like to use his theme as our family Lenten theme. This year it was “what do we really need?” Obviously, God, and growing closer to Him is the point of Lent. As far as fasting goes, “what do we really need?” goes a long way… Every time I want to eat something, I think of if I really need to eat or am I just bored. Every time I want to buy something, I’ll think of whether I really need it or not. I’m trying to have my family do the same.
Darla February 26, 2009 at 8:25 pm
fasting from meat and my computer games, so the time at night that I would be playing games, I can do some spiritual reading.
Mary February 27, 2009 at 12:26 am
I don’t like talking about my physical offerings as to “What I’m giving up.” Instead, I will talk about what Jesus has done for me already this Lent and what I will be doing as a result, for Lent. Our oldest daughter has had Tourette’s Syndrome almost thirty years. She has become increasingly bitter and hard to live with over the years. I had a yearning to make it through one day without yelling at her. I wanted to be able to accept her right where she was, in Christ-like, unconditional love. I cried out to Jesus for this grace, all these years. Sunday, during Mass…………………I felt Jesus imparting a grace to me. I can’t explain; I just knew. Later that evening, while playing board games with my daughter and a friend; she did something unusual. She turned to me and said; “Momma; your face is glowing. I see Jesus in you!” For five days in a row now; I have not once yelled at her. I am totally at peace and calm inside. No matter what she does to me or says to me in a mean fashion; I never yell at her. As a result; her temper dissapates more rapidly. Where it used to take thirty minutes or more for her to calm down; it only takes ten minutes now! The unconditional love and peace is affecting her in a positive fashion. Jesus is so merciful to hear my cries and answer me this way. It is an incredible feeling to have that much joy and peace inside. I believe Jesus has had me on this ‘dying to self’ road the past eight years, to bring me to this point. Jesus is turning me into an empty vessel He can use for His own purposes. Thank you for hearing my cries, Jesus. I will continue on this road, even if you withhold this grace from me for a season. Thanks for letting me share. Mary
postulantk February 27, 2009 at 5:59 pm
Hello, and a happy (can I say that?) Lent to you. I, like you, find Lent to be a favorite season as well. This Lent I am striving for a deeper commitment to prayer in a more physical way, fasting. Three of us at our convent have added a day of fasting to our week, along with an hour of adoration. We hope to carry this practice on thru the year. Funny, two of us had been thinking about this privately already for some time. Funny, the ways of the spirit.
Recovering Oil Addict February 27, 2009 at 6:06 pm
Using public transportation could be another good choice.
Kieron February 28, 2009 at 9:48 pm
I’m fasting from speaking w/o thinking; focusing on less criticism of my family…
Thanks for your tweets…just started following you. You sound like you’ve got your head on straight; we need more like you in the world.
discerninglife25 March 1, 2009 at 8:33 am
I want to serve my famoly more, without grumbling. I always find they are the hardest people for myself to serve.
loveisall March 9, 2009 at 11:20 am
I’ve taken up daily prayers, examining and listening. If I can get out of God’s way perhaps I’ll know more clearly what it is I’m here to do. So that’s what this Lent is to me. Thank you for reminding me of the joyful return of Alleluia at Easter. I hope I can give more of my life to God and His people.