Lent is a time of drawing closer to God through prayer, sacrifice, and giving to the poor. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “During Lent, we seek the Lord in prayer by reading Sacred Scripture; we serve by giving alms; and we practice self-control through fasting. We are called not only to abstain from luxuries during Lent, but to a true inner conversion of heart as we seek to follow Christ's will more faithfully.”
Lent has suddenly taken on a new focus for me. There are areas of my life that I would like to clean up with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Many of my plans for what I will add in and take out remain the same, although others are developing differently. Perhaps you feel the same way, particularly in light of the Holy Father’s call to a “Day of Fasting for Peace” on Ash Wednesday. I feel helpless and, at times, hopeless as I watch events unfold in Ukraine. And I know that means it’s time to sink deeply into prayer and fasting.
Here are some ideas for bringing Ukraine into your Lenten goals and routines:
Daily Chaplet of Divine Mercy and/or Rosary
Offer your daily joys and sufferings for peace in Ukraine with a Morning Offering
Pray for the dead
Fast one day per week, perhaps on Fridays alongside your abstinence from meat
Abstain from an idea of food that you love, such as sweets, alcohol, etc., and offer up that sacrifice for peace in Ukraine
Fast from a habit that is drawing you closer to sin, such as excessive use of social media that elicits anger or despair, and offer up that sacrifice. Replace this with a habit that draws you closer to God, such as reading a spiritual classic, listening to sacred music, or even silence
Donate money or goods to your local Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement initiatives
Donate blood to the Red Cross
Donate directly to organizations assisting in Ukraine
These are just ideas to get your mental wheels turning, but I hope you bring Ukraine into your Lent somehow. It feels unnatural to advertise on a day like today, but I want to encourage you to learn more about Everyday Lenten Holiness if that is something that speaks to you. It will help you discern your Lenten goals in alignment with God’s will, and then translate those into realistic routines. Everyday Lenten Holiness includes:
Self-paced audio, video, and text-based lessons with simple and practical ways to integrate prayer into your days
Action Guides for tackling prayer in each core time of your days and weeks
Video crash course on how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours
Virtual prayer corner with various options for live-streamed Eucharistic Adoration, Mass, prayer, and ambiance for your prayer times
Community support and accountability through the process of changing your environment and mindset about making space for God
Three weekly accountability challenges to keep you on track with your Lenten goals: the first week of Lent, Laetare (4th week of Lent), and Holy Week
Holy Week intensive to end Lent on a high note
Easter Octave suggestions to keep and deepen your Lenten growth and habits through the Easter season and beyond
You will develop the confidence to trust God and to trust yourself to implement change. I want to help as many women as possible, particularly in light of world events. You can use coupon code UKRAINE for $30 off the course and lifetime access to the materials, so you can explore them outside of Lent, as well. Enroll by Ash Wednesday to kick start your Lent with the support of your fellow sisters in holiness.
Thank you for the opportunity to share your space today. May God bless you, and may God bless the people of Ukraine.