The Lenten Journey

During this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI has suggested this Lenten theme:” We have known and have believed the love God has for us.” (1 Jn. 4:16)  In this Year of Faith, what will you do to deepen your relationship with Christ? Traditionally, there are 3 recommended disciplines for Lent: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  (cf. Mt 6: 1-6, 16-8) Many people “give up” something for Lent but perhaps it might be better to “do something positive” instead. Can we fast from negative thoughts, or procrastinating about necessary obligations that we don’t particularly want to do? Can we look around our houses and see if there are useful items/clothes that we have too many of or don’t use that we could donate to the poor? Your extra blankets, sweaters, dishes etc. could be the only ones that other people have. Can we turn off the television or Facebook/twitter/ texting/e-mailing for a while each day and set aside some time for quiet prayer or spiritual reading?

There are some excellent on-line Lenten resources available for you to use. The website Ignatian  offers a variety of resources and connections to the appropriate webpage. Some are retreats using the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Others are daily or weekly readings/reflections on the Lenten lectionary readings. There are some that teach the Examen, a way to reflect daily on our relationship with God, as well as articles and videos that reflect on the meaning of Lent. Many of these links/reflections can be sent daily to your e-mail address when you register.

The Franciscan Action Network   has Lenten suggestions for praying about Creation and the environment. The Archdiocese of Washington has created a special Lenten “Caring for Creation Calendar in the Year of Faith”  which discusses the Church’s teaching about the environment and all of creation.

May we all grow in our love and understanding of Christ during this holy season.


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