LENT 2023 - Lean Into LentFeb 20, 2023
How can I learn to love Jesus More?
Lent arrives this week and I find myself settling into a healthier mindset than years past. I possess a temperament which can sometimes cause me to take on too much. I have good intentions and a good disposition of the heart because I really do want to grow in holiness but... you probably know how it ends? Unfinished journals, missed opportunities for sacrifice and excuses as to why I just couldn't "get to it."
Mindset Makes a Difference
This year I chose "discipline" as my word of the year. Discipline is a disposition of love built on a desire to do what is good, true and beautiful. Knowing oneself - knowing my strengths, and my weaknesses, my temperament, my experiences, my dreams for this life and my hope for the next. It involves knowing who God is, how He reveals Himself to me, how much He loves me and what He is asking of me.(1)
The Lord desires my love and your love too! We can only love better when we know Him better. When we know ourselves better we can know Him better - it's in the discipline that we can grow in our love for Him and for others. This discipline mindset will help me Lean into Lent with intention.
Having a Plan Helps
Entering into Lent without a plan is like going on a trip without a map. We need the plan to assist us in the learning! A plan for Lent is best lived out when it incorporates the whole person, mind, body and soul into the penance, fasting and almsgiving. Here are some suggestions which I pray provide a roadmap to your destination - Holiness & Heaven!
Mind: Prayer, Fasting & Almsgiving
+ Fast from prideful thoughts - Instead cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
+ Fast from media (especially Social Media) - Instead cultivate silence.
+ Fast from limiting self talk* - Instead ask God to remind you of all the gifts He has given you and then use those gifts.
+ Go to Confession with a prepared mind (name &number) to cultivate a desire for amendment.
+ Daily Examen to discover if there is a person with whom you are to make amends.
+ Give your time intentionally to a friend or family member - look the person in the face and put the phone face down on the table -- better yet - turn it off.
+ Give your time in acts and gifts of service: bring a meal to someone, go on a walk with a friend who needs an open heart and open ears.
Body: Prayer, Fasting & Almsgiving
+ Fast from eating between meals: instead eat slower at your meals.
+ Fast from sugar: instead eat more vegetables.
+ Fast from sitting: try standing and walking more during Lent (get outside and talk to Him).
+ A good penance for the body is a few cold showers during Lent - help us remember what a gift hot water is and to be grateful for what we have been given (it's good for the circulation too!).
+ Wear a rubber band around your wrist and use it to either remind you to respond in kindness and compassion instead of short and sarcastic (some people snap the rubber band when their speech is not charitable).
+ Consider using Lent to refrain from unnecessary spending and give that money that you would have spent on coffees, lunches, or impulse buys directly to someone in need and do so anonymously.
+ Make time to clean out your closets and give the items to a reputable organization.
+ Consider buying groceries for someone on a fixed income.
Soul: Prayer, Fasting & Almsgiving
+ Fast from hitting snooze: consider God's perspective when you meet Him first thing in the morning for prayer.
+ Fast from talking at Mass: try getting there early for a Holy Hour and focus on Jesus and give Him your full attention.
+ Speaking of Mass, a penance for some women might be wearing the same outfit each Sunday through Lent: this practice can help me when I am slipping into vanity.
+ Avoid unnecessary talking, instead say little prayers throughout the day (i.e. Jesus, I trust in You, Lord, have mercy on me a sinner, etc.)
+ The Willpower Advantage by Ryan Hanning & Tom Peterson is an excellent resource for Lenten reading.
+ Soulful Almsgiving?? What's that? Well, it's something I kinda made up a few years ago when we didn't have resources to give generously - so, I made extra Holy Hours during Lent and then sent an Easter email to all those whom I prayed for in those hours.
+ Be courageous and walkaway (or swipe away) from impure situations.
Lent is a Time of Comfort
Seriously... it's a time, as my husband Craig would say, to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Please be assured of my prayers for each of you in this community and know that this Lent will be a special one when we enter into with our Mind, Body and Soul set on knowing Him more so we can love Him all the more!
Lent 2023 - Here we come! Jesus we trust in You!
Lean Into Lent with Community
I invite you to join me and the Integrated Catholic Woman Community as we Lean Into Lent together! Join us for a 6-week journey toward Easter where we will strengthen, tone, and energize your mind, body, and soul with a community of Catholic women striving toward Easter with Abundant Hope in Our Savior.
*limiting self talk or negative self-talk is any inner dialogue you have with yourself that may be limiting your ability to believe in your own abilities, and to reach your God-given potential. This type of talk separates us from God.
(1) Tom Peterson & Ryan Hanning, The Willpower Advantage (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2020), p. 221.
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