Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

When you’re thinking of what to do this Lent, and it’s not too late to think about adding Lenten resolution, think of these three pillars.

Prayer – There are countless ways to better your prayer life during Lent here are a few suggestions.

  1. Begin praying the Morning or Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours
  2. Pray for — by name — people you don’t like and for people that don’t like you.
  3. Pray for those, e.g., children, parents, spouse, siblings, who have left the church.
  4. Pray the news — for the people whose stories of hardship are reported daily and weekly.
  5. Observe five minutes of silence every day.
  6. Develop a prayer list.
  7. Begin (or begin again) the daily Rosary.
  8. Choose one extra devotion per week during Lent: Stations of the Cross, Eucharistic adoration or a weekday Mass.
  9. Make a commitment to reading the Sunday readings before you go to Mass.
  10. If you don’t have a cross in your apartment or house, buy a simple one and put it in your bedroom.

Fasting – I’d like to start with a quote by Melissa Nussbaum

Ask most Catholics about Lent and they will talk about fasting, so let’s begin there. And, more precisely, let’s begin with fasting as a canonically sanctioned “diet,” or as a good opportunity to stop some bad habits. “I’m going to give up cigarettes for Lent,” is a common refrain. Very utilitarian, and very American, but not very Catholic. For we never fast from the dangerous, the harmful or the hurtful. If I tell you that I’m going to give up slapping the baby for Lent, you would be right to admonish me that I ought to stop hitting the baby. Period. Regardless of the liturgical season. I don’t fast from slapping the baby during Lent only to pick it up again when Easter arrives!

We are to fast from foods and practices that are good for us so that we identify with Christ’s suffering. We abstain on Friday’s because that is the day Christ died.

Almsgiving – Is fairly easy to understand. Give money to charities and to those in need. It can also mean giving of your time and talents. I know of accountants who give up their time to complete tax returns for the poor. So think not just of the treasure you can give but also of your talents that you can give.

I hope everyone has a blessed Lent.