Your Lent doesn’t have to end on a crash and burn. There is still time to finish it well. Thankfully, Lent is long enough (six weeks!) so that we have time to pick up and start again when we drop off through our own weakness, forgetfulness, or carelessness. If you struggle to make the big heroic sacrifices, here are simple things that you can do each day of the week to help prepare your soul for Easter.
Prayers focused on the Passion of Christ and the redemption offered through his sacrifice is an important part of Lenten devotional prayers. This litany focuses in particular on his Precious Blood, which was shed for us and washes away our sins, and which we receive into our souls, really and truly, in Holy Communion. This is a great mystery, which this litany can help us to reflect on more deeply so that we can better appreciate what a tremendous gift has been given to us.
This prayer to St. Joseph is said to be dated to the year 50 A.D., which, if accurate, would make it part of the apostolic tradition. Nevertheless, it is very old and is among the most loved of our traditional Catholic prayers. It has been recited by the faithful for generations, with much positive effect. We do know that this prayer received an imprimatur in 1950 from the Bishop of Pittsburgh, Hugh Boyle. After the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph is the most beloved and efficacious saint in heaven, and the guardian and protector of the Universal Church.
This beautiful prayer of St. Patrick was his lorica, Latin for ‘body armor’. It is more popularly known as “St. Patrick’s Breast-Plate” which he composed in preparation for his spiritual battle, and ultimate victory, over paganism in Ireland. St. Patrick went into battle with the demons of the Druids with the body-armor of Christ, and won Ireland for the Catholic Church.
There is no better companion for our Lenten prayer journey than our Blessed Mother. During this season of penance, she who witnessed her Divine Son suffer and die for the sins of mankind can assist our hearts to have true contrition for our personal contribution to his pains. We may often think of the Blessed Mother as being serene and joyful, but during Lent it is good for us to meditate on her title of Our Lady of Sorrows, beautifully recounted in the prayer below.
Since Adam and Eve tasted the enticing fruit in the Garden of Eden, the father of lies has been harassing us. Satan’s efforts to distort the truth and his attempts at convincing us to question God’s word have not ceased and neither should our efforts in combating him. It has been said that the devil will use 99% of the truth to float one lie. This is true because he cannot create, which leaves him with only the ability to twist what has already been created. He is a master at this and we need to be on guard against it.
Although this prayer is wonderful to pray regularly when our pride rears its ugly head, it is an especially poignant prayer and meditation for the Lenten season. Our ultimate example in humility is our Savior Jesus Christ, who willingly suffered in silence on our behalf each one of the things listed in this litany.
Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling in them. Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life. Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light. Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Veneration of the Holy Face of Jesus has its beginning during the very passion of Our Lord, making it one of the oldest devotions in the Christian tradition. This devotion originated with the sacred image of Our Lord that miraculously appeared on St. Veronica’s Veil. Below is a short account of how this devotion has spread from ancient times to today.
Prayer is not easy, and neither is coming to understand when and how God may be answering our prayers. Here are my two big pieces advice for learning how to listen to God’s answer to our prayers.