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.