Making the Most Out of Lent 2016

Fasting is a common practice during Lent
Fasting is a common practice during Lent

Lent is Upon Us!

Can you believe Lent is here already? Wasn’t it just Christmas?!  It seems like it got here in a hurry this year.  Ash Wednesday is February 10th – that’s this coming Wednesday.  Did you know Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation?  It isn’t, but going to mass on Ash Wednesday and receiving ashes on your forehead is a good way to start the Lenten season.  Lent is a time for reflection, repentance and spiritual growth.

This year Pope Francis asks us to remember the importance of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.  If you’ve forgotten what those are, fear not, I have it covered!

Corporal Works of Mercy

Feed the hungry.

Give drink to the thirsty.

Shelter the homeless.

Visit the sick.

Visit the prisoners.

Bury the Dead.

Give Alms to the Poor.

See here for ideas on carrying out the corporal works of mercy

Spiritual Works of Mercy

Counseling the doubtful.

Instructing the ignorant.

Admonishing the sinner.

Comforting the sorrowful.

Forgiving injuries.

Bearing wrongs patiently.

Praying for the living and the dead.

See here for ideas on carrying out the spiritual works of mercy

Making Changes this Lent

Many people give up things like Cheetos and chocolate for Lent. Some may even give up things like Facebook.  These practices are all fine, if done with the right intentions.  But how about we give up things like pride, greed, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, and laziness (the seven deadly sins)?

Let’s strive to grow in the Cardinal Virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance; and the Theological Virtues of faith, hope, and charity.  Or how about growing in self-control, compassion, responsibility, patience, a sense of duty, self-discipline and restraint, honesty, loyalty, friendship, courage, and persistence?

Matt Linton (See the article at Busted Halo) summed up Lent beautifully, “…Lent is as much about quitting the obligations that clutter our life as it is about learning to dedicate ourselves to more eternal tasks…”

This Lent, I’m not going to give up Cheetos or chocolate or even Facebook as I have done in the past.  But I am going to work on self-discipline and restraint.  I am going to work on controlling my Type 2 Diabetes through exercise and diet. I need work on other areas as well in the same category.  Patience is also an area I can use some growth in.  All of the virtues could use growth if I am really honest with myself.  I’ll be reading some books, including the Bible, to help my spiritual journey (look for a post coming really soon).  I’ll also be looking for opportunities to perform corporal and spiritual works of mercy and to grow in virtue.

Please share your ideas for spiritual growth in the comments. Let’s help each other grow this Lent.

Peace.

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