A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Forty Days

Posted on: February 16, 2015

Shrove Tuesday being tomorrow and Ash Wednesday the following day, the season of Lent is just around the corner.

For some, the start of Lent may be nothing more than a good excuse to eat pancakes or begin the countdown to enjoying Easter treats. Now, I enjoy chocolate eggs just as much as the next person, but Lent should mean so much more.

As Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND, reminds us in The Confirmed Catholic’s Companion: A Guide to Abundant Living, this season is about penance, almsgiving and fasting, with this focus:

Lent is a time of sanctifying our lives in preparation for celebrating Jesus’ glorious resurrection.

And so we’re turning our minds to what we might give up for Lent, such as chocolate, coffee, some screen time, or a habit we want to break. Or maybe we’re considering taking up a spiritual discipline, such as attending morning Mass, taking part in Eucharistic adoration, or praying the rosary a certain number of times each week.

Here are just a few thoughts on ways to mark Lent:

  • Plan to receive the sacrament of reconciliation during regularly scheduled reconciliation times or following our parish’s reconciliation service.
  • Serve at the Ash Wednesday service or a Way of the Cross service.
  • Spend one lunch hour each week attending a midday Mass near our workplace.
  • Take part in a perpetual rosary with fellow members of a parish group or ministry team.
  • Involve our family in planning and preparing meatless meals for Fridays in Lent.
  • Make our favourite specialty coffee or tea at home and collect the amount we would have spent in a jar over the course of Lent, to be donated to charity at Easter.
  • Go through our family’s spring clothes and shoes and donate outgrown but gently used items to charity.
  • Serve a shift at a shelter or soup kitchen with our family or parish group.

I pray that, on our own and within our families, we would find our journey through Lent a time of spiritual growth as we prepare our hearts for Easter.

O Lord, the house of my soul is narrow;

enlarge it, that you may enter in.

It is ruinous, O repair it!

It displeases your sight; I confess it, I know.

But who shall cleanse it, to whom shall I cry but to you?

~ St. Augustine of Hippo, quoted in Eerdmans’ Book of Famous Prayers



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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