I thought I’d post a few thoughts about Lenten goals for this year, based around the three classic works of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Many of these suggestions are similar to what I’ve written in past years, but there’s always a little something new!
The sacraments are our baseline for prayer. Sunday Mass gives the core to our week. We should find a time to make a good sacramental Confession/Reconciliation at some point during the season. Daily Masses are a great way to keep the season holy, too.
B. Personal Prayer
Personal prayer and other devotions deepen our sacramental prayer. Scripture reading, books of reflection, the rosary, or the Stations of the Cross are all great aids to prayer. At its root, personal prayer develops a conversation between us and God.
C. Spiritual Reading
I’m going to add a separate category here because I think spiritual reading is so important! This is a little different than prayer, but nourishes our growth in faith. Search for great books or guides for reflection. If you are a member of St Malachy/St Elizabeth, Formed is a tremendous resource. You can gain access through stmalachyrantoul.formed.org. It includes not just books, but videos, talks, podcasts, and movies. Matthew Kelly organizes another daily option called “Best Lent Ever” (https://dynamiccatholic.com/best-lent-ever). I also provide resources on my website (if you’re reading this in another format, the address is borrowedlore.com).
A. The basic regulations for Catholics are that all those 14 years of age or older are required to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent. Those 18-59 are required to limit their food to one main meal (with two smaller meals/snacks) on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In case of medical necessity this requirement doesn’t bind.
B. In addition, we may personally choose to give something up for Lent. Screen time is always a recommendation that I give. I think it’s important to connect this to prayer and almsgiving. Our sacrifice could give us extra time to pray. Feeling the absence of something could be a reminder to pray. Money saved could be given to charitable causes.
This can include any of the works of mercy. It is often the most neglected of the three works, and to be honest will be the shortest of my points here. However, that is because I plan to make this the focus of my reflections during this Lent- so, more to come on this area!
I encourage you to take some time in these next few days to discern what goals you are being called to set. Some might be daily goals, or weekly, or even once per Lent. Please pray for me, and be assured of my prayers for your Lenten season. God bless!