pray more, and Lent is a great time to plan and implement a daily prayer rule that can guide you the rest of the year. During this season, however, we should especially focus our prayers on repentance and contrition for our sins. Here are some suggestions for Lenten prayer.
The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary
The Divine Mercy Chaplet
6. Fast – I’ve written before about the importance of prayer and fasting, so suffice it to say that it is something we should be doing all year round, not just during Lent. Still, Lent is a very good time to refocus our efforts and renew our commitment. We should especially focus on fasting from things related to our predominant sins.
Are you addicted to Instagram or Facebook? Fast from them. Maybe you’re binge watching shows on Netflix. Give it up. On the other hand, maybe you’re addicted to criticizing others. Make a special effort to fast from negative speech. The point is, while fasting from certain foods is an excellent ascetical practice, we do not have to limit our lenten fasting to things we eat. Remember the words of Jesus: “If your eye offends you, pluck it out.” Nothing should stand between us and the heavenly kingdom, and we should be intentional about cutting off those things that are causing us to sin.
7. Give alms – During Lent, we especially remember the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. This is the greatest act of generosity in history, for Jesus died not just for his friends, but for his enemies. “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
The generosity of God in Christ should impel us to be generous and merciful to others, especially those poor and in need.This Lent, find a way to give, whether it is supporting a religious order or helping at a homeless shelter. Remember the promise of Jesus, “And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”
You cannot fail
I began this post by talking about my own failure, and yet, when it comes to lenten disciplines, true failure is not really possible. I mean that even failing in our commitments can help us grow in humility and knowledge of our own spiritual poverty — and growth in these is always spiritual advancement.
This Lent, do your best. Strive to root out sin and cultivate holiness. But when you fail, realize that even those who can be considered righteous fall seven times daily (Prov. 24:16). Let your failure be a lesson in humility that drives you back to the grace of God flowing from the pierced heart of Jesus — for that is the true heart of Lent.