I can hardly believe it but friends, Lent begins a week from today! Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and abstinence. Oftentimes, Lent sneaks up on me and suddenly it is Ash Wednesday and I haven't thought deeply about what I plan to give up or add to my life to help myself better prepare for Jesus's glorious Resurrection on Easter Sunday! But we have a week to prepare and plan for an intentional Lenten experience that will truly prep our souls to celebrate the Easter season joyfully and fully aware of what Easter truly means for us as Catholics.
Take Time to Reflect
Before next Wednesday, take time to reflect on where you are at in your spiritual journey.
After you've reflected and identified a few patterns of sin or an area that you've grown stagnant and lukewarm, its time to communicate your intentions with those around you. Its very easy to notice what's wrong, but it is another thing entirely to make serious, intentional changes in your life. Turn to your spouse, your best friend, your spiritual counselor, or accountability partner to help you stay committed throughout the upcoming forty days. They may also have great advice for you to help you make the changes you're wanting to make! People who know and love you well may have deep thoughts and advice that can help you decide what your next steps should be.
After prayer and intentional communication with those who love you and want the best for you, God and others, I want to encourage you to plan accordingly.
Lent's just around the corner sister, don't let it sneak up on you and don't let a lack of preparation be an excuse for you to not fully participate!
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Traditionally, Lent is a time of abstention. Last year was a weird time, pregnancy made me exempt from the fasting that I had grown up with. Instead, I focused on things I could do or add to my day, as well as abstaining from non-food things.
This year, I've decided to return to the old habits of giving up a particular food item. The tradition behind it is a practice of spiritual purification and enlightenment that took place the forty days before the early Christians baptisms. In modern times, we make sacrifices (especially in the Lenten season) to help us walk closer to Christ. Ancient religions believed in the need to make sacrifices to their gods and we do the same by sacrificing favorite things or bad habits to God.
When we give up chocolate or Netflix for forty days, we are making an effort to honor God through our willingness to abstain from earthly pleasures, confident that the paradise God offers us through a passionate relationship with God is worth it all.
This year, I'm trying for something big: adding sugar. Forty days of no desserts, sugar on my oatmeal, or honey in my tea. Yikes. This one is double-whammy because I know processed sugar is terrible for you anyways and I've been struggling with it since my pregnancy.
What about you? Have you started to think about you will be giving up this year? Let me know in the comments below!