Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the beautiful liturgical season of Lent. Like many Catholics, my forehead is covered with ashes and my stomach is pretty much empty. I struggle with fasting every year. It’s not that I eat big meals (except when Bruce cooks!) but I do snack a lot during the day. Days like today bring to mind how much I rely on snacking for comfort, and even to fill time. Something to work on during these 40 days.
I have somewhat grandiose plans for Lent 2017. I believe it’s because the first two months of this year have not been as fruitful as I had hoped. My physical health issues impacted my ability to concentrate. But with a new month, and a new Lenten journey, I have a new burst of motivation. I rarely do well with New Year’s resolutions, but I do better with my Lenten commitments. I. Am. Determined.
Lent has three main elements: Prayer, Fasting, and Alms Giving. I don’t always focus on all three, but after listening to the homily tonight at Mass, I realized I need to. I usually do well with the first two, but not the third. Hmmm…
I made a new prayer journal, and will ask for prayer requests weekly on my Facebook page. I had taken a break from this activity for a while and I feel the need to begin again. Praying for my friends is a great honor, and brings me joy. Added to that is a beautiful journal from Blessed is She, a wonderful online community of Catholic women across the country.
I fast from things and activities more than from food. (Well, there is always some yummy snack I set aside for the season!) Over the years, I have had some incredible things happen through this spiritual discipline. I’ll write more about that later this week.
Thinking about alms giving gives me pause. Bruce and I already support our church and some ministries…as do many other Christians. We are not special in that sense. But perhaps we are being challenged to do something extra, even just once. And perhaps it is not a call to be generous with money, but with our time instead. Definitely worth praying about!
Of course, all of this is to help me focus more on my relationship with Jesus. Worldly comforts can distract us; sin separates us. It’s time to clear the clutter from our spiritual lives so we can see and know our Lord better.
How do you walk through the season of Lent? Share your thoughts below, not to boast but to give each other ideas. Maybe your idea will help someone experience a Lenten journey like never before!