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Anticipating Lent: Your Pre-Lent Pep Talk

Feb 16, 2017 By Laura Jean Rabiipour

Lent is fast approaching and Catholics across the world will soon gather in solidarity on Ash Wednesday to embark on the forty day journey into the proverbial wilderness of self-denial.

Denying ourselves something we enjoy during Lent is a simple and clear way to remember all that Christ has sacrificed on our behalf.  Yet, Lent is often remembered as an “ordeal.”  We fall into the trap of characterizing Lent as a miserable and grumpy time.  Why?

Lent is Coming: Your Pre-Lent Pep Talk

FOCUS ON LOVE

When we are dreading an event we are already predisposing ourselves to not get as much out of it. (And yes, we are all longing for that certain thing we have sacrificed!). We focus on our need and desire, rather than our sacrifice of love and thankfulness.

When we are not looking forward to something, we tend to put it off. But we don't have to feel this way about getting ready for Lent. We can change our attitude. These days before Lent are a time to start anticipating with positivity what is about to happen.

GETTING READY

If we want this year’s Lent to be life changing, we have to start preparing now. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, not the first day to start thinking about your Lenten practices for this year.

The devil and his minions have already begun preparing their attack to dislodge your Lenten sacrifice. What are you doing to prepare yourself and gather reinforcements against him?

Getting Ready for Lent

THE REWARDS

Anything worth doing is worth doing right, and you don’t want to miss any of the blessings this season holds.

What can we gain from Lent?

  • Spiritual growth

  • Greater openness to the Word of God

  • Closer relationship with our Savior

  • Developing a stronger will through self-denial

  • Offering up worthy sacrifices in union with Christ

  • Greater zeal for the faith

Do we desire this change? We can obtain these rewards, but just like any reward it has to be earned. How much we want to grow is dependent on how much we are willing to give. We are compensated for our time in Lent with an outpouring of grace. Whatever we give to Him, He will give us back so much more because God cannot be outdone in generosity. 

THE LENTEN PENANCE

How many times will you be asked the age-old question: what you are giving up for Lent?

What Should You Give Up For Lent?

But focusing on what you are giving up is not the only way to get the most out of Lent.

This is the Lenten guideline I have always followed: cut something out and add something in.

In the past I have added daily prayer in the morning or evening, dedicated 10 minutes to reading a Lenten devotional book, kept a weekly Holy Hour in Eucharistic Adoration, and prayed the Stations of the Cross. You will be amazed at how much doing a little something extra will transform your Lenten experience. These simple practices do not require a large sacrifice of time, they only require forty days of dedication.

 

If you’re still unsure of what to give up or add, ask someone who knows you well. I assure you they will have lots of ideas. Those who surround us may have a better understanding of our failings. If they suggest something that you really don't want to do, or your response to them is, "I could never do that!" then you have stumbled upon your Lenten sacrifice. God may be working through those around you, so listen.

And remember, be supportive of what others are giving up for Lent, and don't do this:

Getting ready for Lent

Lent is only 40 days, and our sacrifice is a language of love for Christ and our fellow man.

It does not take a lot of time to prepare for the beginning of Lent. It just takes eagerness and focus. God can do so much with that.

How are you preparing for Lent? If you have ideas, please share with our readers by commenting below!

Lent is often thought of as an “ordeal”. Why? How can we change our attitude?

This article has been updated and was originally published in February 2014. © The Catholic Company. All rights reserved.

Comments

Pat C.
Pat C. says
Feb 20 2017 2:24PM
Another reading suggestion for learning more about Mother Mary is The Mystical City of God by Venerable Mary Agreda. It will change your life. It explains who Mary really is, her relationship with God the Father and her son, our Lord Jesus Christ her son. It's Mary's biography with her own comments. Really! May God bless you and bring you closer to him.
Jeannine H.
Jeannine H. says
Feb 19 2017 10:33AM
I spend way too much time on my Kindle so I'm putting it away during Lent. I will spend the time reading lives of the saints.
Jenna
Jenna says
Feb 17 2017 12:23PM
Simone, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich is a good one. Or you might check out How to Read Your Way to Heaven by Vicki Burbach, it's a spiritual reading program based on the four pillars of the faith and it has awesome readings lists.

As for me, I've become too involved in social media and silly games so I'm doing a digital detox and will use that time for spiritual reading instead. Also plan on attending Stations and fasting on Fridays.
Simone
Simone says
Feb 16 2017 5:52PM
I plan on reading biographies of saints for spiritual inspiration. I would especially like to read about Mary, mother of Jesus. Does anyone have any suggestions of reading material?
Hi Simone, you can find lost of great books on the Blessed Virgin Mary here: https://www.catholiccompany.com/mary-books-c168/. Most of the books in this category are excellent, we especially recommend a Manual for Marian devotion written by Dominican nuns, Meditations on Mary, and a Year with Mary. Also anything written by St. Louis de Montfort.
April
April says
Feb 16 2017 3:21PM
Giving up: "Digital entertainment" i.e. social media, playing games on the tablet or phone, mindless scrolling through the internet. Adding in: giving of my time to others, attending Stations or daily Mass
Petra merino
Petra merino says
Feb 27 2014 11:42AM
Thank-you for the information. It will help me this lent season
Judith Gaber
Judith Gaber says
Feb 24 2014 7:11PM
Meditating on the seven sorrows of Mother Mary is a good and powerful one. Its like taking her hand thew Jesus life in a mothers eyes :(

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Laura Jean Rabiipour Laura Jean Rabiipour

Laura Jean is a cradle Catholic who grew up in the frozen tundra of Minneapolis, MN. Searching for warmer weather she flew south and attended Belmont Abbey College. There, she cultivated a deeper love for Our Mother Mary, southern life, and a boy named Nicholas who will soon be her husband. She was instructed by her loving folks to grow her faith and when possible to share it, a mission she is now working to accomplish at The Catholic Company.

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