“What are you giving up for Lent?” is a question that is often asked this time of year as we prepare for the season of Lent, a season of conversion. During this season, we aim to turn away from distractions and focus on pointing our hearts and minds towards God through the three pillars of Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Giving something up for Lent is a form of fasting which should draw us to God and focus less on personal comfort.
In addition to giving something up for Lent, try adding something in (e.g. more prayer, spiritual reading, serving the poor) based on your personality type! If that doesn’t cut it, check out,“Outside the Box: 66 Things to Give Up or Take Up For Lent (Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced)”. Maybe you’d like small daily challenges that inspire you to dig deep this season. Check out Matthew Kelly’s Best Lent Ever 2016 and sign up to receive daily inspirational emails consisting of short videos, reflections, and challenges. You can also sign up to receive daily Lenten reflections by Bishop Robert Barron, and you may be interested in reading this Lenten message from Pope Francis. Also, don’t forget to register for the 2016 Diocese of Charleston Young Adult Lenten Retreat!
If you don’t give up television and Netflix, check out some of these suggested movies to help you reflect more on the season of Lent. If you are giving up television, Pope Benedict’s book, Journey to Easter, is a series of Lenten reflections that walk you through Jesus’ life and death and help you to recognize our daily struggles in Him. Lastly, Death On a Friday Afternoon: Meditations On The Last Words of Jesus From the Cross by Richard John Neuhaus is a deep, heavy, and in-depth reflection on Christ’s last words on the cross which is sure to be a moving and powerful read.
It is good to be last not first,
Pending the present distress;
It is good to hunger and thirst,
So it be for righteousness.
It is good to spend and be spent,
It is good to watch and to pray:
Life and Death make a goodly Lent
So it leads us to Easter Day.
– Lent, by Christina Rossetti
We pray that you may have a grace-filled Lenten season and that our small sacrifices in fasting, almsgiving, and prayer help us to draw closer to God, transforming our lives through a conversion of spirit and heart.