By Sister Lauretta
Prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These three words sound very familiar to most Catholics. They have been the traditional practices of every Lent down through the years. Once again, this year, they signal the start of Lent beginning this week with Ash Wednesday. As we continue to plan to practice these disciplines, we might look at how we could flesh them out with a new approach.
So, you may be wondering… How do I prepare thoughtfully and possibly, even differently for this special season this year? Author, Vinita Wright suggests that we ask ourselves this important question: “What needs to happen within me so that I can approach Lent with more integrity and intention for whatever I’m doing?” It’s necessary and good, she believes, to have a plan for doing. Interestingly, she also suggests that it’s necessary and good to have a plan for being. So, consider how you want to be and what you will do to achieve your goal.
The question then is: How do I want to be this Lent? More quiet and thoughtful? More open to God’s plan for me? More compassionate toward others? Willing to be with people who need me? More generous in using the gifts God has given me? Thinking about some helpful questions will aid us in seeing where we are in our lives and, consequently, where we want to be:
- What do I need spiritually at this time?
- What about my life makes me happy? What do I do that brings joy to God and to others?
- Am I open to the graces that could be mine this Lent? How can I open my life a bit more and let go of more stuff, listen better, and do more quickly and passionately that which helps nurture God’s Kingdom on earth?
As we approach Ash Wednesday, let us take some time to pray and reflect on the place in your life where you can deepen your relationship with God. Reflect on what you will initiate or rearrange, in order to create more space and passion for this relationship. In his book of prayers, Ted Loder writes: “Oh God, let something essential happen to me…and change me somewhere inside where it matters.” Let this be our prayer this Lent!