See What Happens: 5 Tips to a More Spiritually Fulfilling Lent This Year
Posted by jullrich on Mar 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm
It’s the middle of Lent and you haven’t done anything about it yet? Rather than conceptualizing Lent as a huge action you must take, think instead of small, bite sized actions you can take each day. Here are 5 simple ideas to still have a spiritually fulfilling Lent this year:
1. Go to Mass every day until Easter – At Mass, you hear the Bible read to you (at least 3 different sections at every mass). You are provided a stimulating interpretation of the scriptures you’ve just heard and how it applies to your life (that’s the homily). You get some quiet time for personal prayer and reflection. You get to celebrate the Eucharist (there’s no way to spend a more personal kind of time with Christ than that) and you get a blessing for the day before you leave. How good can it get?! See what happens.
2. You know that one person in the office you don’t like? Yes, the person who annoys you whenever you deal with him or her. Maybe it’s’ their style of communication, maybe the way they dress, maybe the way they live, talk, think … maybe all of that. Sincerely pray for that person every day until Easter. Talk to God about them – and let God talk to you about the situation. Pray for their intentions, for their health and happiness. Try to find out how God sees them – after all, He made that person and loves him or her as much as He loves you. Then every week until Easter, try to say something nice to that person – nothing extravagant, nothing forced, nothing made up, but something sincere and from the heart. See what happens.
3. Pick a saint. Not the most obvious ones, but a more obscure choice. For example, visit the Vatican website that lists all the saints proclaimed by Blessed John Paul II http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ELENCO_SANTI_GPII.htm. There, pick one every week and read their bio, then research more about their lives online or in a library. (this is a good resource http://www.ecatholichub.net/study/saints/resources) and start to get to know them. Start a relationship with them and ask them for help in your striving to live a fulfilled life. See what happens.
4. Find a local home for the sick or the aged and ask them if you could visit someone who hasn’t received a visitor in a long time. Go visit them at least once a week until Easter. Bring them a small gift – some flowers for example to put in their room. Then start conversing with them. Ask them about their life, their hopes and their worries. Listen, don’t talk. At first, it’ll be odd. It’s easier to talk than to listen, but make an effort to listen. Ask questions, and don’t give too many answers. Make this about them, not you. There’s a project that someone at Cornell did like that which might inspire you for these visits http://legacyproject.human.cornell.edu/. See what happens.
5. Abstain from the news and media until Easter. No TV, no Internet news/entertainment, no newspaper, no magazines. Delete the news apps on your iPhone until after Easter, give the morning paper and the magazines away. Don’t automatically turn on the TV when you get home or to your hotel room when you travel. Instead, spend that time either praying, actively being with loved ones, reading a spiritual book, or sleeping. I know it sounds overwhelming – it did to me when I first started it. The silence this creates is deafening. But hang in there. See what happens.