As Lent is starting with Ash Wednesday tomorrow (yup, tomorrow!), maybe it’d help us prepare for it if we consider a few simple questions that probably come to mind when we think of Lent.
What is Lent?
Lent is a (roughly) 40-day period during which the WHOLE Church undergoes purification and spiritual clarification through practices of self-denial.
Why does Lent matter?
- Because we’re selfish.
- See #1.
- See #2.
- Because we SO often focus too much on ourselves instead of on God, we need to practice denying ourselves so that we can better love God.
What can I do for Lent?
The Church encourages us to practice self-denial through 3 main ways: praying, fasting, and almsgiving. But to give some specific examples of how you can do those, here is a list of creative (and weird) ideas for Lenten practices:
- Drink only water
- Give up Facebook
- Don’t sleep on a bed, but sleep on the floor instead
- Don’t use a pillow when sleeping
- Don’t eat sweets
- Donate any money you find (on the ground or in couches)
- Only listen to Christian music
- Write a letter each day of Lent to someone who has touched your life thanking him/her for how he/she has touched your life.
- Put a popcorn kernel in your shoe every day
- Don’t use your phone apps
- Pray the “Hail Mary” and do an ab crunch for every single word
- Stop complaining and/or being negative
- Give up texting and call whoever you need to talk to
- Give away 10 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, and a pair of shoes
- When you wake up, jump out of bed, kiss the floor, and learn humility
- Wear the same 4 outfits for all of Lent
- Everyday do 20 (or 100) pushups and offer it up for someone who’s sick
- Leave a post-it with a positive message on it wherever you go
- Cut out all screen-time (phone, TV, computer) after dinner
- Sit and stand up straight – don’t slouch!
- Every day take a picture of something or someone you’re grateful for and hang the pictures in your room
And remember that this isn’t a competition about who can give/take up more. But we’re here, as a universal (that’s what “catholic” means) Church, to go through this together. So let’s not be afraid to share with each other (or in the “Give Up Pick Up” campaign) how we plan to embrace Lent and to support each other.
LET’S DO THIS!!