Preparing for Lent 2020

As we approach this year’s Lenten season, hopefully you have been able to steal a few reflective moments in order to prepare for it. No one can do all the million-and-one Lenten activities that Christians are often invited to do: from praying more, to giving more alms, to volunteering more at Church, etc.. It just seems impossible – especially if you have children at home or are caring for parents/grandkids, etc. to make and take the time to ‘slow down and become more prayerful’!!!

Yet, even in the face of our busy lives, we often still hear God’s call each year at this time…  In hearing it and being reminded that Lent approaches, we often feel the need to respond in some manner…   Now that the holidays and New Years has passed, winter’s dog days has reminded us that its once again time to renew and to deepen our faith journey towards the Kingdom…

Often, if there is any preparation for Lent, it generally focuses on identifying what one will ‘give up’ this year… Of course, ideally we should spend some quality time identifying and preparing to make and own our Lenten sacrifice or Lenten addition (i.e. like making 15 MINUTES for prayer each morning)…

Whether you have ultimately decided to sacrifice x or to add y this Lent, please remember to prayerfully name each morning the specific GOAL(S) of your Lenten sacrifices or additions.  By prayerfully naming them daily, you are empowering these potential virtues and character traits to develop and, by grace, to be realized this year during Lent!!!

Goals like…  …like starting a prayer life, working out regularly, eating healthier, orally never cursing but always blessing and commending others, etc..  In prayerfully naming and stating these goals, you will be spiritually holding out your ‘Lenten carrot’ and allowing God’s grace to pull you forward to them this Lent…

Apart from determining exactly ‘what I will give up (or add)’ this Lent,’ is there perhaps, another important decision that one need to consciously make before starting Lent?

Yes, there is one more…

It is to determine and name the attitude and manner that we want to enter into and live out this Lent with!!! Attitude is everything!!!  Often in life, it is the only thing that we can control – if that!!!

Our lives are stamped with recurring realities… They include both repeating weekly realities like work and family duties and those once a year realities like Lent and ‘the holidays.’   Both kinds of realties can and do eventually over time, become routine in their own way, despite having their own uniquely recurring rituals and practices – like BBQing on the 4th of July!!!

When confronted with the real life challenge of entering into yet another boring holiday, liturgical season or family event, etc., our REAL challenge is to not let the small things bother or derail us (like figuring out what we will give up for Lent)…

At these times, what is most important is making sure that we have the right and a healthy attitude to begin these recurring events with…  … This inner work of  ‘havin’ the right ‘tude’ as my mom used to say, can be infinitely harder than making a forty day ‘mindless sacrifice’ of little consequence.  Just ask anyone living in family or community life  – is it easier to give all than to live in grace and walk in ‘the right ‘tude’ each day?

In short, during these busy times let’s NOT fall into that trap and get derailed by focusing on choosing what to do this Lent….    Let’s simply redirect our focus to being in the right heart space each day throughout the Lenten season…

In this Spirit,

May God find you this Lent…

More prayerful…

More open to listening…

More patient with yourself and others…

More humble, penitent and loving –

In your daily words and deeds

As this Lent fades away

And Easter nears…

Amen.