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What We’re Doing for Lent

Faith

A few of you asked about our Lent plans that I mentioned in my March goals post, so here you go :) I want to start by emphasizing that we aren’t doing any of these things because we’re already holy…quite the opposite, actually. I battle with lukewarmness in my relationship with God, and that’s exactly why Dave and I set so many Lenten intentions–because we know we need improvement, and this is not an area we want to skimp on. Even if we don’t do all these things perfectly, I know it’ll be worth trying.

In Pope Francis’ message for Lent this year, he said “Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God ‘with all their hearts’ (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us. Even when we sin, he patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, he shows us his readiness to forgive.” The part that stood out most to me is “to refuse to settle for mediocrity.” Lent isn’t about giving up chocolate or coffee or whatever just for the challenge–it’s about continued conversion, striving to grow deeper with the Lord, and not settling for mediocrity in faith as we prepare for Easter.

With that in mind, I usually prefer doing new things for Lent rather than giving things up. Fasting is important for the spiritual life, and should be practiced regularly in different ways, but during Lent, I know I personally will grow more from adding prayer time, daily Masses, etc. than I will from giving up a favorite food. And if you are giving something up? That’s great too! I would encourage you to not only give that thing up, but to replace it with something that will help you in your faith journey. One of my most challenging Lents ever was when I gave up my snooze button in favor of morning prayer. Hard, but so worth it! Now, here’s what Dave and I have decided to try this year:

Me, individually:

Dave, individually:

As a couple:

  • Abstaining from meat on Fridays
  • Praying a decade of the rosary together every night (this is a habit we want to stick to after Lent too)
  • Going to Stations of the Cross at church every Friday
  • Doing a joint Holy Hour (we each spend half an hour in the adoration chapel while the other of us entertains Charlie in the church, then switch off) every Wednesday
  • Trading our usual Friday night TV/movies for a spiritual documentary or film (We love Nine Days that Changed the World, anything by Bishop Barron, and the Formed videos. We’re also dying to see The Original Image of Divine Mercy!)
  • Fasting from Netflix (we don’t have cable, so we pretty much only watch TV shows on Netflix)

It gives me butterflies to think of how Holy Week and Easter will feel if we can stick to all, or at least most, of these things! More importantly, I hope the challenge of “going all out” for Lent will create some good new habits and routines that will help us grow in our relationships with God throughout the rest of the year (and our lives–dreaming big here!).

What are you doing for Lent? I’d LOVE to hear!

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  1. mary wilmot says:

    Super impressed by y’all’s reading list, Netflix fast, and Holy Hour plans. :) Cheering you on!

  2. Em says:

    I love this so much! My favorite is the Friday night movie swap – we might have to co-opt that one!

    • Lisa says:

      I think it’ll be a good one! Let me know if you watch anything we should add to our list! :)

  3. Kristina says:

    Love your approach! I started out giving up dessert during Lent because it had become a bad habit and something I ate when I wanted comfort. During the past week I was not only reminded that Lent is not only about sacrifice by giving something up but also (and probably even more) about drawing closer to God. So instead of just generally giving up dessert after dinner I decided to give it up only on weekdays and instead of having dessert I’m now spending an additional 30 min every night praying and being in the word. The Message of Pope Francis was actually what made me reconsider my actions during Lent. Cheering you on and praying for you that some of your intentions will turn into habits!

    • Lisa says:

      That is awesome, Kristina! I thought Pope Francis’ message was so encouraging–it definitely made me rethink the way I was approaching Lent, and I love hearing that you felt the same way. Thank you for your prayers, and I am praying for you too!

  4. Katie says:

    Like you, I wanted to try to do something for Lent rather than giving something up. I haven’t prioritized the church or going to weekly Mass over the past few years, so I needed some baby steps to start prioritizing religion again. In addition to making our best effort to make it to Mass every weekend, I also decided to start reading the Blessed is She devotionals every morning (something I discovered through your blog!), and I love your idea of giving up my snooze button in the morning to make extra time for that. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

    • Lisa says:

      Katie! Thanks so much for sharing. I am so glad you’re enjoying the Blessed Is She devotionals–they have been such a positive addition to my life, and I hope they will be for you too! Their blog is excellent as well, if you haven’t checked that out yet :)
      Getting to Mass every week can be so tough, especially during busy or unpredictable seasons of life. I don’t know what your situation is, but something that has been helpful for us right now is being okay with bouncing around to different churches and Mass times. While we love our “usual” church and Mass, the fact of the matter is that we’re on Charlie’s schedule right now, and going to a different Mass is better than not going at all. It’s frustrating sometimes (and I miss seeing our friends at our usual Mass!), but we never ever regret making ourselves go. I’ll be praying for you!

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