Lent is more than giving up drinking soda or sugar. Lent gives us a chance to reflect on what God wants to give us and how to accept the change God hands us.
Before Lent begins, it's important to make a plan of how the spiritual 40 days can transform your life. It's also important to remember that Lent doesn't need to be lonely. It can be a prayerful experience to transform yourself and others with friends and family. Here are three things that can help you choose what to give up for Lent, follow through with it and make it your best 40 days.
01. ASK YOURSELF TOUGH QUESTIONS
You don't need to have the answers to all these questions, but thoughtfully thinking about them will help you manage what you want to accomplish. Whether it's giving up an hour a day to attend Mass more often or being more engaged in your community, these questions developed by RachelHeldEvans.com will sure give you a chance to reflect.
- When I wake up on Easter Sunday morning, how will I be different?
- Is there a habit or sin in my life that repeatedly gets in the way of loving God with my whole heart or loving my neighbor as myself? How do I address that habit over the next 40 days?
- Is there anyone in my life from whom I need to ask forgiveness or pursue reconciliation?
- What practical steps can I take to carve out time for daily contemplation?
- How will I measure my success?
- How will I share what I give up with my loved ones?
- Where is somewhere I can go to refresh my thoughts in silence?
02. PREPARE TO GIVE IN
It's not easy to undo something that has been done for years--even if it's for 40 days. Prepare to want to give in and give up. It's best to prepare what will happen when the urges to give in. Make a plan to speak to a close friend, find a calming place like your living room or take a walk. When being pressured into giving into what you gave up, try to pick up a different, healthier habit such as cooking, reconnecting with old friends or learning something new.
03. READ MORE ABOUT YOUR FAITH
Just like taking a test, the best way to prepare for something is to read about it. Here are some materials and articles the Saint Clement staff found to be extremely helpful to fuel their faith, answer questions and explore God.
This will help to motivate (or even find!) your passion for Lent.
Book: Mercy in the City by Kerry Weber
Book: The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis
Article: Pope Francis Message to Communicators: Speak Truth With Love
Book: Adopt a Work of Mercy by Fr. Louis J. Cameli