The other day I had a “Lenten Breakdown.” I lost my focus on what Lent was about. Instead of allowing this to be the liturgical season of spiritual growth, I was focused on my Lenten mistakes. I thought for sure this year I was going to meet my Lenten goals. Instead, I realized I was no better than previous years. Thankfully, I overcame the temptation to despair and was given the grace to see this breakdown for what it was: a reminder of how much I need Christ.
When we fall and fail in our Christian faith, we create a real opportunity for Christ to help transform us from within. Even though we are more than halfway through Lent, it’s not too late to have this Lent be a time of personal transformation. If you’re like me, you might need a Lenten reboot. Here are some suggestions to ignite your faith-life in the midst of the Lenten Season.
Learn to Better Love Others. Lent can be a time of significant growth if we take time out to invest in and deepen our relationships. Jesus tells us, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another (John 13:34). Our Lord tells us, “If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.” (I Corinthians 13:1). To successfully practice our Christian faith, we first need to begin by cultivating a loving heart and remind ourselves that love is the root of all that we do.
Launch New Goals That You Are Willing to Try. St. John Paul II was fond of saying, “the future starts today, not tomorrow.” This sentiment is an excellent reminder that it is never too late to set new goals in life and be willing to begin anew. Lent is all about growing in our Faith, and it is rooted in a liturgical season that points to the death and resurrection of Christ. Consider strengthening your Lenten practices with new goals that will have a lasting impact on your personal life and strengthening your family.
List Your Goals. If you don’t set goals, you will not grow. Name the areas of your life where you need to make changes and ask the Lord to give you the grace you need to improve. When we take time out to evaluate these areas of our life we can see our weakness and hopefully identify possible areas for growth. Set goals, and ask the Spirit of God to help you live them out!
Life Matters. We only have one life to live. This one life is a journey to the next so let us embrace the joys, sorrows, and sufferings and recognize that they have value. When we see that our life and the lives of those around us matter, it will give us the renewed vision to appreciate God’s creation and cherish the dignity of each person.
Live To the Fullest. Maximize each day so to live life to the fullest! I believe that when we rise early and are ready to embrace our day with the help of our Christian faith, we can not only have a better Lent, but we can live life to the fullest.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the “L” of Lent when it pertains to traditional aspects of this holy season.
Live Out Your Faith (Practice Your Faith). As the old saying goes, it’s easy to talk the talk but hard to walk the walk. As Christians, one of our most significant obstacles is just being willing to begin a prayer life. Allow the Lord to touch your heart today by being willing to renew your prayer life by merely telling the Lord you are ready to begin again and ask for his grace so you can live out your faith. Consider praying the Rosary daily, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, or start a novena that can spring you into a more active prayer life!
Leap into Literature that Leads to Spiritual Growth.Put down your secular book and pick up literature that is not only satisfying but spiritually inspiring! It’s great to read for fun, but Lent provides a fantastic opportunity to be inspired by reading about the lives of the Saints and learn more about our faith.
Learn the Ways of God. Read Scripture every day. Lent is a wonderful time to read the Bible and fall in love with Christ.
Long For Eternity. Spend some time meditating on the WHY we do what we do in life. Eternity is our ultimate goal, but if we don’t hunger for it, we will grow lazy in seeking the Kingdom of God. Remember, eternal life is our only true goal.
Less Is Best. Purge yourself of the extras that bog you down. As a busy mother of seven children, I continue to learn and relearn that “less is best” when it comes to materialism. The world seems to clutter us up with extra stuff we don’t need and often don’t even want. Consider donating your “extras” and fasting from the pleasures of this world so you can better focus on the next. The best signs of a life well lived are not the trinkets we collect along the way but the happy memories and smiles on the faces in the pictures we hold dear. Teach your children and grandchildren especially while they are young that things do not bring us true happiness but God sure can.
Limit Yourself. Learn to live in moderation. Have you ever fasted from food? Do you limit your desires and wants of this world in return for spiritual growth? Can you say no to the pleasures that tempt you, whether it be coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, the internet, chocolate or other sweets? When we begin with setting goals like not eating meat on Fridays during Lent, we can take steps towards strengthening our willpower and following the footsteps of our Lord.
Load Up On Good Things. Lent is a great time to reevaluate your lifestyle. Consider loading up on healthier choices like daily exercise, time outside, quality time with family members and loved ones and eating healthy. Load up on good things that will honor your Temple of the Holy Spirit. Most of us could all benefit from more sleep, rest, prayer, exercise, laughter and healthy food so why not start now? Lent is a beautiful time to seek out new graces to be a better version of yourself.
Link Arms with Others. We are made to live in community and help each other out so let’s link up with others and provide the helping hands needed to allow ministries, works of mercy and fruits of the Spirit to prosper. Is there a ministry in need of your skill, talent, donation or counsel? Lent is a beautiful opportunity to give back to the greater community!
Lower Yourself to Others- Learn to grow in the virtue of humility. St. Bernard defines humility as “a virtue by which a man knowing himself as he truly is, abases himself.” When we grow in humility, we can better serve others and allow room for the Holy Spirit to work in our life. Humility is a critical component of growing in our love for Christ and being willing to be his hands and feet.
Don’t get down on how your Lent is going for you, instead, turn to the L’s of transformation and seek out God’s grace for a renewed and Holy Lent!