Cristina came up with the Super Friends designation, isn't it precious? I kind of love it. She and I decided to collaborate for the 7 Posts in 7 Days linkup over at Conversion Diary on a pre-Lent project. I'm sort of terribly excited about this. Beginning today, we are both posting about Lent 2014 for the entire week. We've got all sorts of fun things planned (because yes, we think Lent is fun *beams*) with interesting topics, personal stories, planning ideas, lists of things... We are nerds. We do lists very well. We transform these lists into spreadsheets. Clearly, there is no stopping us. :0
On tap for today is Cristina's post on the pillars of Lent, and my reflection thereof. Have you read her post yet? Hop to it, it's lovely, you don't want to miss it. :)
I'm a cradle Catholic, and so I've been doing this Lent "thing" for quite a long time. And yet every year, it's exciting and fresh to me anew. I learn something previously unexplored, or decide on a new approach to my practice of Lent. I'll talk about *that* more tomorrow, but for today, I want to focus on the very foundations of Lent.
Despite all of those years of CCD, I am ashamed to admit that I didn't really know the official pillars of Lent until very recently. There is prayer, fasting and abstinence, almsgiving, and penance. To my mind, prayer is actually one of the most neglected of these. Anyone raised Catholic knows they are not supposed to eat meat on Fridays during Lent. And that on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday we are supposed to fast and moderate our eating. Everyone talks about what they are "giving up" for Lent, as a minor form of penance. But trying to pray more? Almsgiving? I didn't even know what that *meant* growing up!
As Cristina mentions, adding some prayer into our routine for Lent can be a very minor thing, but one that can add a significant punch to our spiritual lives. Importantly, it should be something that isn't so ambitious that the chances of you sticking to the promise for all of Lent (and hopefully afterward) are slim to none. Been there, done that, sister.
"I'm going to pray *all* of the offices of the Liturgy of the Hours (4 volume set, I'm not intimidated by all of those ribbons, BRING IT ON!!) AND go to daily Mass this Lent. I'm also planning on weekly confession and reading the major works of St. Teresa of Avila. I mean, they're on my Kindle, reading always goes quick like a bunny that way. I think that's doable."
Maybe for some people. That never worked out for ME. :0
We can add a simple Morning Offering to our routine. You wake up, and develop a habit to have that be the first thing that comes to your mind. A new prayer card on your nightstand can be your visual cue. A daily rosary, even. I pray the rosary in the car on my way to and from work, but I could try to commit to a daily rosary on weekends as well. THAT would be doable. It's the little things, truly.
In the spirit of almsgiving, one could volunteer their time for an event at their parish. You could make a one time donation to a worthy apostolate you've always admired. Cristina's post got my little mind whirling (I'm really babying the remaining brain cells that are left in there, believe me) about practical ideas that I could implement this year.
Overall though, my thought after reading Cristina's post was: "This doesn't have to be complicated." I tend to make things complicated, it's part of what makes me unique. ;-) But Lent is truly a simple time with profound meaning. Doing something simple out of love for Our Lord is what Lent is all about. It's a time of recollection and reflection, of prayer and giving. What are YOU going to do this Lent? I mean, you have to let me know, I live for this stuff. :0
What will *I* decide to do? Stay tuned for tomorrow's scintillating installment of Super Friends Do Lent...
I’m writing seven posts in seven days this week. To check out other bloggers who are doing the same, see the list here.