Today is Fat Tuesday, so ready or not, here comes Lent. As some people engage in Mardi Gras like celebration before we begin the penitential season of Lent tomorrow, others are deciding what they will “give up” for Lent. (Chocolate and alcohol are traditional favorites, although more recently I’ve heard more people considering giving up Facebook for Lent.)
Hopefully, our preparaion for Lent also includes disposing ourselves to God’s grace during these forty days. I came across a wonderful excerpt from a book titled Praying Lent, written by Andy Alexander, SJ, and Maureen McCann Waldron. They write
It doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare for Lent. It just takes desire and focus. God can do so much with our hearts when they are focused. We can give God more space to touch our hearts if we begin to establish some simple patterns. For example, we can wake up each morning and stand by the edge of our beds for a few moments to ask the Lord for the grace to let this day be one in which we long for the beginning of Lent. Our prayer might be general, or we might pray for specific helps or graces for getting ready to begin Lent. Whatever we say, our Lord understands our words. We can make this simple connection with God in the time it would take us to put on our slippers. Similarly, we can spend a short time in prayer each night giving thanks to God before we go to bed. This pattern of simple morning and evening prayer can stir our spirits to look forward to and prepare for Lent as a season of grace.
So, as you have those last drinks or chicken wings (the latter of which is what we are serving at the law school today during our Fat Tuesday celebration) and as you ponder how you will engage in the traditional Lenten practices, take some time to focus your heart…giving God the space to touch your heart.