1.) Pray the Rosary
2.) Attend daily Mass
3.) Go to confession weekly
4.) Make time to go to Adoration
5.) Participate in Stations of the Cross
6.) Volunteer at your church
7.) Join a Christ-focused Facebook group
8.) Ask how you can pray for others
9.) Spend some quality time with your Bible
10.) Write your prayer intentions
11.) Research about your faith
12.) Find a good daily email devotional
13.) Make time for the Liturgy of the Hours
14.) Wake up a little earlier, making time for God
15.) Watch family-friendly content
16.) Attend a faith-focused meeting
17.) Start a Lenten support group
18.) Dedicate daily chores to Christ
19.) Workout, a your body is a temple
20.) Wear religious jewelry as a reminder
21.) Spend more quality time with loved ones (no devices!)
22.) Invite someone to attend Mass with you
23.) Spend 5 minutes in quiet meditation
24.) Follow Catholic or Christian social medias that build you up
25.) Add an after-meal prayer to your eating routines
Lent isn't just about what we give up, it is also about what we can do to prepare for Christ's return on Easter Sunday. Is there anything you plan on adding that I didn't mention? Let me know in the comments below!
Almost four years ago, I settled in for what I now know would be my last single girl's Valentine's Day. My roommate and her boyfriend were out for a romantic night of Applebee's and I had the room to myself. I snuggled into my twin bunk bed, opened a package of Thin Mints, and picked up Fifty Shades of Grey.
Even at 19, I realized pretty quickly what complete and utter nonsense that book was; normalizing a relationship that had all the markers of emotional abuse, treating childhood trauma as an excuse for such behavior, and encouraging me to mistake unhealthy sexual decisions as "liberating". I tossed it aside after the first few chapters.
Four years later, and what started off as fan-fiction of a teen series (Twilight) is now its own international phenomenon, normalizing what only can be described as a wrong. Sexual liberation does not equal rape, pedophilia, and pornography. Love does not equal "fixing them", lust, and control. And this movie is not about any sort of relationship we should hope for in our lives.
When we see it on the big screen, in all of its glitz and drama, we forget the story really being told: of a young man who was victim of pedophilia; a young woman who was stalked and harassed into a sexual relationship; of a couple who rushed into bed without real consideration of what sex means. And while we may pat ourselves on the back, calling ourselves adults, and be confident in our ability to distinguish fact from fiction, what are we teaching our children and teens when we post about how much we loved this movie? What are we encouraging in our relationships? And what are we them teaching to expect in theirs?
I cannot begin to tell you how damaging Twilight was on my relationships in high school. I had unrealistic, unhealthy expectations for my romantic relationships that I could only recently traced back to that noxious teen romance. It took years of growing up to realize how much of a subliminal influence it had on me. I cannot imagine how damaging Fifty Shades is.
The characters are not "relationship goals". We owe our friends and family the love and respect to not fall for it and recognize that this film isn't a story worth sharing, it isn't worth our money, and certainly isn't worth our relationship with God.