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.
It should not surprise us that fasting is beneficial to our bodies and our minds as well as our souls, since as human beings, we are made up of all three. When something benefits one of our faculties, it benefits all of them. The integration of body, mind, and soul is, in fact, a goal of many spiritual pursuits. Actually, fasting has a long history as a healing tradition.
St. Patrick lived in 5th century Ireland, a time of pagan Druid priests, Celtic rituals, and nature-worship. St. Patrick successfully, and peacefully, converted the entire island by brilliantly using their own pagan traditions, images, and spirituality to teach them about the Christian faith.
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.
Ireland is home to some of the most intricate and interesting art known in human history. Attributed to the ancient Celtic people, it is mysterious and rich in meaning with sign, symbol, and metaphor. Due to Ireland’s embrace of Catholicism centuries ago, it is not surprising that many of these symbols were given new and deeper religious significance, used by the great missionary saints as handy catechesis tools to illustrate Christian doctrine to the pagan inhabitants of the island.
Have you ever struggled to explain to non-Catholics why you participate in Lent? If you have friends or family members who are not Catholic, they may notice something a bit different about your habits and behaviors during this season. Whether it’s people at the office who give you a puzzled look as you restrain from snacking between meals, or friends who question why you’re going with the meatless meal on Fridays against the crowd, here is a simple answer you can give for your self-imposed discipline.
This physical sign commemorates the beginning of our Lenten season of sacrifice and spiritual growth. If you are like me, it is not uncommon for your Ash Wednesday cross to turn into a smudge. When going out in public, you may receive a question or comment about your forehead being “dirty”. It’s easy to be vague and shy away from giving an answer about the meaning of this mark of sacrifice. But this year challenge yourself to be prepared to fully answer their questions. Here are three ways to respond to remarks about the smudge on your forehead:
Jesus taught us clearly that there is no resurrection without the Cross, and Lent is the Church’s great spiritual journey as she, the Bride of Christ, joins her Divine spouse in His great suffering on our behalf. Basically, you don’t get the joy of Easter without the self-sacrifice of Lent; the disciples of Jesus follow in his footsteps . . . including the bloody ones. Here’s a rundown of everything major you need to know about the Lenten season, the 40+ days of penance to prepare our hearts Easter, the greatest of all Christian feasts.
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.
Because it is a penitential season of self-denial, many people view Lent as a time of forced depression. So, it is good to be reminded that, “While Lent is a solemn season, it is not a somber one. The forty days are not structured to foster morbid gloominess and debilitating self-loathing; they are meant to thrust us into the heart of divine love.”