A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

A Season of Preparation

Posted on: March 3, 2014

As a child, I used to look forward to Shrove Tuesday, although many people called it “Pancake Tuesday.” Sometimes my father would make the thin Danish pancakes we could spread jam on and roll up with a fork (sorry if I’m making anyone hungry).

I’m sure I wasn’t thinking about the start of Lent. I didn’t really do much to observe Lent before coming to the Catholic Church. Sure, I gave something up for the season, and I knew Lent was a time to prepare for Easter, but I didn’t give much thought to fasting, prayer and charitable giving.

But as author Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND, tells us in The Confirmed Catholic’s Companion: A Guide to Abundant Living, “Lent is a time of sanctifying our lives in preparation for celebrating Jesus’ glorious resurrection.”

With Ash Wednesday just two days away, we need to think about planning for a good Lent. How will we spend this season? Here are a few  ideas:

Fasting. We could give up late-night snacking or chocolate. Or we could give up something like nagging, swearing, or something that’s a bad habit in my house—yelling to another person instead of walking to the room that person is in to ask a question.

Prayer. We could try some new mealtime graces, use an app such as Laudate to pray a virtual rosary or other prayers, or make time first thing in the morning to talk with God. We could also attend a Eucharistic adoration service (I had the joy of attending one during our Confirmation retreat), a Stations of the Cross service, and/or early morning Mass during Lent. Or participate in a perpetual rosary—many members in my parish’s CWL group have committed to praying one mystery every day in Lent.

Charitable giving. If we’re giving up something we normally spend money on, we could put that amount into a jar regularly during Lent and donate the sum to a charity we have a connection to or one that our parish supports. Or donate items to the food bank. Or buy a cup of coffee or some food for someone living on the street.

For those in search of some ideas for Lent, visit BustedHalo.com to read Renée LaReau’s archived article “25 Great Things You Can Do For Lent…besides giving up chocolate” and check out the site’s “Fast Pray Give” calendar.

I pray that we would use this season to prepare our hearts so that we may better appreciate the joy of Easter.

“Yet even now,” says the LORD,

“return to me with all your heart,

with fasting, with weeping and with mourning;

and tear your hearts and not your garments.”

Return to the LORD, your God,

for he is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger, and abounding in mercy,

and repents of evil.

~ Joel 2:12-13*

(*Scripture quote taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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