This second Lent of the worldwide pandemic is weighing heavily on us all. You may have started it with enthusiasm, picking a penance or a practice that may or may not still be working for you several weeks in. Here are some ideas to refresh your Lenten practice now:
- Change your language. Don’t talk about giving up, think in terms of a Lenten practice that will carry you through the remainder of the season and be more meaningful than a farewell to chocolate. What will be your Lenten practice this year?
- Be prayerful in selecting your fast. We tend to abstain from the same things every year, but is that always what God calls us to? The point of a fast is to become uncomfortable so our thoughts can focus on God. What would make you uncomfortable for the remainder of Lent?
- We forget what the Good Samaritan did after rescuing the man by the roadside. He gave money to the innkeeper to look after the victim; freely and wholeheartedly, as though giving that money were the most natural thing. For Catholics, it is! Almsgiving flows from prayer and fasting and is central to Lent. Who is your “innkeeper” this Lent? To whom will you give your money freely to help someone else?
We’ll never have all the answers, but God doesn’t expect us to. What he does expect is for us to be discerning: to ask the difficult questions of ourselves, our Church, and our world. Partway through Lent is an excellent time to ask those questions.