Lent starts tomorrow (!!) and (technically) ends on Thursday April 9th before the beginning of Good Friday. We wanted to share some ideas below to help you think through and prepare for Lent! As Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days, we also take 40 days to reflect on our own spiritual journey during this time.
There are three big parts of the season, which are intended to help us prepare for the celebration of Easter Sunday: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving.
- Prayer: while we should always strive to pray everyday, Lent is a great time to really focus on your relationship with God. You can start by setting aside 10 minutes before you go to bed or just after you wake to pray. If you aren’t sure where to start, Hallow offers a 9 day intro challenge that is a great way to try out new prayer techniques like Lectio Divina, the Examen, and Christian Meditation. If you want to commit to praying everyday this Lent, join our #pray40 challenge in the community tab of the app. #pray40 helps you set aside time in prayer everyday alongside thousands of others so you aren’t alone on the journey.
- Fasting: this is the one most people think of when they talk about Lent: what to give up! In the past, I thought the goal of fasting was to make me feel guilty about enjoying certain things. I’ve learned that it’s much more about realizing how we may be taking things for granted and to remind ourselves that we love Jesus more than we love anything else. I’ve found that fasting is very similar to exercising. It may be uncomfortable at the time, but it helps strengthen our self-control and spiritual muscles which is a worthwhile pursuit. Here are some ideas if you are looking for things to give up this Lent: hot showers, snacking, drinking alcohol, buying things for yourself (i.e., something you don’t need but want), or coffee.
- Almsgiving- this one involves giving things away to others. It helps us remember that everything in our life is a gift, and that the purpose of life is to love God and love others. Almsgiving could involve giving money to charity or your parish, but it could also involve giving something more valuable than money: time. You could devote a certain day to volunteer at a local food pantry or offer to spend some time helping your parish office as well. You could even explore supporting a local group like a Knights of Columbus, Young Catholic Professionals, or Catholic Charities.
So, if you’re anything like me and haven’t quite figured out what to do this Lent, take a few minutes to prayerfully consider how God may be calling you to pray, fast, and give this Lent. We look forward to praying with you this Lent!