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How not to waste Lent: 16 suggestions


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Dominika Cicha - published on 03/17/17

Pray for someone who endlessly annoys you. Give away some sweaters to the needy. Look at the sky more often. Another chance at a new life lies ahead.
Finally, it is here. The long awaited Lent. Finally, we have an excuse to once again … give up sweets. Sunday dinner with family, a friend’s birthday, Women’s Day, and we can say, “Thank you for desert, I gave up sweets for Lent.” Every time we can say this sentence, we burst with pride and feel growing satisfaction. Right before Easter, we stand on our scale with a shadow of hope. Did it work? We have the joy that we “persevered in our resolve.” Who hasn’t been there? Pity, but that’s not the point of Lent.
How to approach Lent wisely and not to waste another chance to change our life? What to do when “ascetic” resolutions send us into the abyss of black despair and instead of leading us closer to God only bring us daily frustration?

Lent is your time to learn something about yourself. What is secretly gnawing at your soul? What pulls you away from Heaven? Take a challenge that will require effort, but that you’ll be able to accomplish. In your heart, you know very well what will help you open the door. If you are still looking for ideas, take a look at our list.

1. Look at your life and don’t make any more resolutions 

We have a mess in our lives. Sometimes it is a minor thing, a small problem, but a small mess is still a mess. “Take a look at your day, everything that is happening around you, your relationships, your body,” says Fr. Jarosław Studziński, a Jesuit. He adds, “Let’s not make silly Lenten resolutions!” What does he propose?

Make two lists, the first one with what you feel is missing from your life, the second with what you have too much of. You will know what to do next.

2. Walk with the Word

Look to the Scripture and walk with the Word all day. Open your eyes and ears to the Lord. What does He want to tell you today? Which part of you does He want to heal? If you want, use the online Bible from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; there are plenty of prayer and Bible apps, such as Truth & Life, available, too.

3. Take part in worship

On Friday, take a half hour to go to a Way of the Cross service. If you cannot make it to church, meditate on the Passion of Christ at home. There are many options; you can follow the late Fr. Jan Gora, Fr. Piotr Pawlukiewicz or the late Fr. Jan Kaczkowski.

4. Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

This short prayer, from which we give thanks to St. Faustina, can work wonders. It takes away anxiety and has a calming effect. If you find it difficult to speak to God in your own words, reach for the Rosary. Maybe you could pray for someone you do not like?

5. Immerse yourself in music

Music can open our hearts and bring us closer to God. Light a candle. Turn on your favorite quiet melody and talk with Him.

6. Support a missionary

There are numerous organizations in the U.S. that need your support, for instance Catholic World Missions or Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. You decide in what form you would like to do this: financial, praying for them, offering your suffering for a missionary’s intention …

7. Clean your house and closet

When you have chaos around you, you also have it inside you. How many times have you thought of sharing your unused clothes with those who need them? This is a good time to do something about it. Maybe you have something that doesn’t belong to you on the shelf, something that should be returned to its owner long ago?

8. Read something good

On the internet, in the libraries, and in the bookstores there are many worthwhile offerings that could nourish your soul. They can be texts written by popes, good articles, biographies of saints, interviews or testimonies which you are always putting aside for “later.”

9. See something worthwhile

Have you already seen some of these movies? Silence? Hacksaw Ridge? Heaven Is For Real? For Greater Glory? The Mission? Fireproof?Courageous? Miracles From Heaven? How about The Shack?

10. Cancel useless subscriptions

Is your email inbox bursting at the seams with unwanted notifications? Do you often see the “Not enough memory” notice? Clean up your inbox. Un-Like unnecessary pages on Facebook. Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read. Cancel senseless YouTube subscriptions. You will save a lot of time and energy.

11. Take care of your body

God gave it to you so you would take care of it. When was the last time you had a yearly check-up? Maybe there is something causing you pain, and you push it away for later, instead of going to a doctor? Is there food or physical activity that somehow take away your freedom? Remember, you don’t live only for yourself.

12. Buy consciously

The book you will never read. The dress, which hung in the closed with tags until you didn’t like it anymore. Too much food that slowly went past its expiration date. Perhaps Lent is a good time for financial self-examination?

13. Talk about what’s in your heart

What would you do if you found out that you only have three hours left to live? Who would you call? Is there someone you haven’t talked to for a long time? A forgotten friend from elementary school perhaps? Or a person you would like to forgive? Or say, “Sorry,” Thank you” or “I love you” to someone?

14. Share your time

Time is one of the most precious things you have and can give to someone. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what, where, and how you do something, as long as you do it together.

15. Return home

Lent is a good time for a good, thoughtful confession. Prepare for it and make a plan to do better.

16. Slow down and look at the sky more often

That’s what it’s all about it. We have less than 40 days to say to ourselves: Enough. Put stop signs on all roads that lead you away from God.

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