Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Getting ready for Lent!

It's Ash Wednesday, everyone! No, it's not a Holy Day of Obligation, but yes, attending Mass and receiving ashes is a profound and wonderful way to begin Lent. And yes, today is a day of fasting and abstinence (more about what that means, here).

I'm going to focus on spiritual posts this Lent, as usual. The last two years I posted some of Blessed Fulton Sheen's reflections on Jesus' Seven Last Words on the Cross, and you can find that again here. Those words can never be meditated upon too much!

For a simple but thorough look at the meaning of Lent and Lenten practices, go here:

If you feel so inclined, I'd love to hear what you're doing for Lent this year!


  1. I am giving up Facebook and replacing that time with prayer and reading of catholic materials. FB has been such a huge time sucker for me for so many years and I'm embarrassed to admit, an addiction. I get pulled into so much drama and feel like I have to check in constantly and not miss anything and therefore my brain never rests. It's so unhealthy for me. A much-needed break is in order. I also need to learn not to seek validation through FB. Looking forward to this journey!

  2. @Beth....I gave up FB for lent 3 years ago for exactly the reasons you stated and I have never gone back. I found I love people so much better when I do not know all the details of their personal lives. Meaning, it has helped me to be less judgemental and more charitable in my thoughts. It has been a really good thing for me. Good luck!

  3. Thanks, Tam. I came to realize a while ago that FB was destroying me but my addiction to it was too strong to break. I don't know that I will ever give it up for good but I'm hoping that this fast from it helps me be able to put it in its proper place of moderation and very occasional use. The saying that comparison is the thief of joy is so true. That's all FB has done to my soul. Kind of like Pinterest. I got off there and never went back. It made me hate my house which is terrible as my husband works hard for what we have. Just such feelings of inadequacy is what I experience on these sites.

  4. I don't think I will ever do Pinterest for those very reasons, Beth, lol! I do Facebook mainly to inform and evangelize, but it has occasionally caused me trouble! These days, I can feel at peace with it, so that is good. But yes, for some, Facebook is not a good thing! Good for you if that is your situation and you cut it out of your life! :)

  5. Hi Leah! Thanks so much for this blog, by the way. It's my favorite. :0)

    So... Lent. I am quite sick this year, so traditional fasting wasn't going to work. So since I was also on medical leave from school, I decided to do lots of good things with my time, instead. But I had so many ideas this year that I decided to try and do all of them, but to be 'gentle' about the meanings of words like 'daily' and 'every'. So I'm doing the Litany of Humility 'daily', and Lectio Devina 'daily', and 'daily' mass and weekly confession and 'daily' rosary at my church and adoration 'every' Friday. The idea is to do some type of prayer that I don't normally do for at least a half-hour a day, and to especially emphasize things that get me to my church in the company of other Catholics. And then some other 'fun' things like a gratitude poster on my wall in my bedroom (just slap up a piece of poster board and write down your blessings whenever they come to mind in colorful markers so that by the end of Lent it's plastered with things you're grateful for), and trying to go someplace beautiful once a week to think and pray, like a park or an art museum. That kind of thing. Mostly emphasis on building up my prayer life and actually taking good care of myself, rather than giving anything up when it was going to be too hard for me to maintain right now.

  6. Rhiannan, that sounds awesome, and ha ha, no worries! Glad to hear from you!

  7. My parish this year has a special and beautiful Idea for Lent. Parishoners are invited to pick a random card; each card includes name/picture/prayerintention of somebody from our area living/discerning a consecrated life. The parishoners should pray for them during Lent and this is also a special way to honor the year for consecrated life.

  8. Leila,
    This year for Lent I am trying to embrace all three aspects, especially since this Lent is my last climb to Confirmation (I’m SO psyched!). While my perennial favorites are on the chopping block (alcohol, soda, limit cigarettes to 10/day), I am trying to focus on the additions as well. I have resolved to give alms whenever asked, no complaints, even if I have to go get money and return. I have already failed! My mother-in-law asked me to walk the dog this morning (4 degrees, lots of snow) and, while I did it, I let her know just how much it was inconveniencing me. Needless to say I have work to do.
    Also, I am adding substantially to my prayer life. I already pray privately each evening and my wife and I (sometimes with my mother-in-law) do our Legion prayers together nightly. To this I am adding personal morning prayers, procuring a scapular and beginning the requisite devotions, and we are adding a decade to our nightly Rosary. That will bring us up to three decades and we plan to finish all five in October for Our Lady of the Rosary.
    So that is Lent 2015. Pray for me!
    How about you, Leila? I’ll pray for you, as well. :D

  9. I never knew that Ash Wednesday wasn't a Holy Day of Obligation! Huh. Well, I won't be telling that to my kids, haha! Out of all the days of Lent, my son dislikes Ash Wednesday the most. He always says, "No way! I'm not letting them put DIRT on my head this year!!" (I keep telling him it's ash and symbolic but it's all the same to him.)

    Anyway, as a family, we try to add a decade of the rosary every Lent. So last year, we started out with just one decade and this year we will be saying two decades. We will see how it goes. I started us all out at five decades but it seemed to be too much for my high-energy kids.

    We will also be going to our parishes Stations of the Cross every Friday. Love the Stations!

    For myself, I'm really trying hard to work on a very bad habit of mine--getting upset over little things. It's spiraled out of control and Lent seems like a good time to purge it out of me with the spiritual desert. I know it's something I can work on at any time of the year, but I know that Lent has special graces to help us with these bad habits we want to give up...

  10. Leila,
    Please clear up this point of discussion between my wife and me: is breaking your Lenten devotion a mortal or venial sin?

  11. I'm giving up my snooze button. It sounds silly, but I hit that thing at least 2x every morning. What a waste of time! I'm attempting to conquer St Josemaria's "heroic minute".

    As a family, we're giving up coffee stops. The kiddos, too. (They get hot chocolate, but still....). It's a good $10 each time we do it now, since there are so many of them!, and I'm embarrassed to admit how many afternoons we do that while on our way to/from gymnastics practice. Going to put that saved money into a jar and donate it at the end of Lent (to the charity of the kids' choosing). I'm a little nervous to see how much is there!

  12. "Leila,
    Please clear up this point of discussion between my wife and me: is breaking your Lenten devotion a mortal or venial sin?"

    Nathan, it's not a sin as far as I know... A Lenten devotion is not obligatory, it's just something between ourselves and God, and we try our best to live up to the sacrifices or offerings we set for ourselves. But it's not required, and so it's not sinful if we don't live up to it. Someone correct me if I am wrong. I am certain that it's not obligatory, though. Unlike fasting, alms and abstinence as prescribed, which are obligatory. :)

  13. Heidi, what a great idea!!

    And Nathan, I am giving up Words With Friends, as I play dozens of games at a time and it's a great time sucker for me. I also am going to be focussing on spiritual reading, and my theme in my spiritual journey now is abandonment to God, and living in the present moment, and finding God's will right there. :)

  14. Words with friends is so addictive! I have a bunch of games going at once, and it's like crack. Probably need to limit it to one game at a time....


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