If you’re feeling discouraged because your effort to give up chocolate was thwarted by the coworker who brought the birthday cake to work, don’t lose heart. Lent is not a pass/fail class. Rather, it is a journey of becoming closer to God through prayer, sacrifice, and generosity. Seeing Lent only as a 40-day block can prevent us from taking advantage of Lenten moments—opportunities that arise each day for us to deepen our relationship with God. Here are a few:
• Prayer. Between now and Easter, look for five minutes alone with your spouse. Face each other, hold hands, and ask your spouse what he or she is most worried about. Then together pray an Our Father, slowly, for that worry. Then do the same for your worry, followed by a prayer of gratitude from each of you.
• Generosity. Almsgiving is the traditional way to be generous during Lent, but generosity can be practiced in small moments throughout the day—flowers for a teacher, a plate of cookies for an elderly neighbor, a thank-you note to a priest who inspired you with a recent homily.
• Sacrifice. The strong among us are able to sustain a 40-day fast from sweets, chips, or alcohol during Lent, but the rest of us need to start small with our sacrifice. Try a focused, one- to three-day fast from something you truly enjoy, but for a purpose. Give up your afternoon Diet Coke for three days straight and pray for your oldest child. Skip sweets for a day and make a point to learn more about those areas of the world affected by hunger.
—by Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the 2012 Best in Class award from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for the past three years running. Here’s a sample issue.
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