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LENT 2024 - Presence: Silence & Order

deep health integrated life lent liturgical life prayer Jan 30, 2024

How can I learn to live in the Presence of God?

Lent arrives earlier his year - Ash Wednesday is on Valentine's Day! This happens every few years and it never fails to catch me by "surprise".  This year, Lent is all about Silence and Order - coming off of an Advent that was peaceful and slow (with some "active" moments), I am ready to focus even more intentionally. How about you? 

Mindset Makes a Difference

This year, the ICW Word of the Year is "Presence" while I chose "Unshakeable" as my own word of the year. These two words go hand-in-hand and as I begin a deeper life of prayer this year Lent, it turns out, is perfectly timed. I am looking forward to a Lent where, with God's grace, silence and order can be cultivated. This lent I look forward to God revealing Himself to me in even more deeper ways as I hold the days with a much looser grip. This Lent I long to know more about how much He loves me and what He is asking of me. Together, my faith, my heart, my mind will be unshakeable in His presence! 

The Lord desires your love too! He longs to be in your presence - 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 prayer, 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 or do a Lean Into Lent workout).

+ 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 can be 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.

+ Speaking of clothes - choose ONE outfit which you will wear each Sunday during Lent - freeing up some time to get to Mass a bit earlier for some silence.

+ 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 (or Holy Half Hour) and focus on Jesus and give Him your full attention.

+ 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.) - Read Matthew 12:36-37

+ Holy Silence by Fr. Basil Nortz 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 walk away (or swipe away) from impure situations (like: gossip!). 

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 it with our Mind, Body and Soul set on knowing Him more so we can love Him all the more!

Lent 2024 - Here we come! “In Silence and in hope shall your strength be” - Isaiah 30:15 (Douay-Rheims)

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 mind, body, and soul together with a community of Catholic women striving toward Easter in Silence & Order. (Doors open for Early Registration Feb.1 - 7 snag a discount and a gift before it's too late!)

*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.


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