Okay, now that I know, I have to plan. And so do you. Because a good and fruitful Lent takes planning. It's not just, "Oh, I'll give up sweets" as you wander through the channels on Fat Tuesday, full of paczki from the office that morning. No, indeed. This will not do - not if you wish to have a prayerful, helpful, sweet, spiritual Lent.
Here are some ideas:
- Start praying about it now. Ask God what it is He wishes of you this Lent.
- Instead of "giving something up" (nothing wrong with that), consider "adding something in:" 15 minutes of Scripture each evening, a daily Rosary, etc.
- Find some spiritual music that moves you and draws you into God's presence. It might be contemporary Christian music, it might be Gregorian chant, it might be classical Mass settings. Listen to and from work during Lent.
- Plan some spiritual reading. Maybe it will be fiction (Graham Greene, anyone?). Perhaps you want to delve into some Scott Hahn. Maybe a good saint biography. Find at least one book you can read during Lent.
- Invite someone to come to Mass with you. Maybe it's someone who's fallen away from the Church, or maybe it is someone who isn't Catholic. Take them to Mass, and then treat them to brunch afterwards, and discuss the Mass.
- Maybe you've always saved your spare change for the CRS Rice Bowl, and that's great. However, maybe you and your family might choose an organization closer to home this year.
- Celebrate Mardi Gras! If you can't do it on Fat Tuesday, do it on the Sunday before ( that's March 2 this year.) Invite some friends over, everyone dresses in green, gold, and purple, have a feast complete with a King cake. When everyone leaves, give them a prayer card and an inexpensive Rosary.
- Journal your way through Lent - keep a prayer journal.
- If you like to doodle or draw, make it an artistic prayer journal. Don't worry if you're not a "real" artist: this is just between you and God.
- Some people choose to take a break from social media for Lent and that's great. However, if you don't, consider how you can use your social media accounts to evangelize. Start each day with a snippet of prayer or a Scripture verse on Twitter or Facebook. Join a discussion group on LinkedIn. Social media can be a powerful tool for evangelizing.