That’s right – tomorrow is Ash Wednesday It may seem like Christmas was just yesterday (indeed, as of last week, one of my dear friends still had her Christmas decorations up), but tomorrow is the beginning of Lent.
The question is: How do you plan to walk through these 40 days leading up our celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ?
As I sometimes do this time of year, let me make some suggestions.
First, I will be offering a Lent Reflection series at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, Praying with Jesus’ Parables. There will be six weekly sessions, beginning today. I will post podcasts of my talk as well as the prayer material for the retreat weekly, either the afternoon of our weekly sessions or the following morning.
Second, the Ignatian Spirituality Website has posted 10 Ideas for Lent, with links to suggested reading, online reflections, and a way of praying the Examen during Lent.
Third, a couple of years ago, I posted the suggestion of committing to a particular practice each day. You might take a look at it and make your own list of daily practices.
Fourth, the traditional Lenten observations are prayer, almsgiving and fasting. If you plan to fast, spend some time reflecting on what a meaningful fast would be. It’s great for grade-school children to give up chocolate or breakfast cereal. But we might do well to consider what it is that God really is inviting us to fast from. Is it excessive use of social media? Is it engaging in snide talk about others? Is it excess criticism toward our co-workers. Don’t let Lent fasting be, as one of my priest friends use to joke, “Weight Watchers for Catholics.”
If you have other suggestions for making this Lent meaningful, please feel free to share them in the comments.