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6 Ways to Live a More Fruitful Lent

Feb 12, 2024 by

Ordinary Time seems to have evaporated before our very eyes, and the important season of Lent is upon us. 
Lent is an incredible gift from the Church to all of her children. In it, we are called to pause. We are called to reflect upon our Savior and His Passion and to contemplate His immense love for each of us, entering through the doorway of His suffering into the radiance of His glory.

Despite the riches of the season, it's easy to get caught up in everyday cares and miss the graces of these powerful 40 days. As we seek to accompany Christ in His Passion and grow in holiness in the coming weeks, here are 6 realistic and attainable ways to live a more fruitful Lent:

1. Surround Yourself with Powerful Reminders

Shakespeare said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and we Catholics have always surrounded ourselves with visual reminders of what we believe. These objects of reverence are an age-old (and often misunderstood) aspect of Catholicism. They are not only decorative, but more importantly, they provide focal points during prayer, encourage deeper devotion as we go about our days, and lift our hearts to heaven when we see them.

Do you have a crucifix in your home? Beautiful artwork or statues depicting scenes from Christ's Passion? If not, consider placing one or more of these sacramentals in your home or prayer space this Lent to move your heart to greater devotion and prompt you to prayer.

Try playing sacred music in the background at home. Light a candle when you pray or as you sit down to read the daily Gospel. 

All of these things will be beautiful reminders of His love and mercy. They will predispose you to peace, help you to see and hear Him, and cultivate your devotion to Him.



2. Seek Silence 

Silence may seem like the easiest item on this list, but most of us allow for so little of it in our lives. The world is a cacophony. It drains us. The literal and figurative noise is everywhere. We cannot escape it unless we deliberately  step away. Without quiet, there can be no recollection. We need silence, especially in prayer, to hear the voice of God.

This Lent, try not to rush and hurry. Be present, noticing the world around you. Doing these things will naturally slow your pace. That will bring a greater sense of interior peace, which in turn will make recollection and prayer easier.

Start small by savoring your morning coffee or tea with your eyes closed and breathing slowly as you enjoy it. Step outside for a breath of fresh air and take five minutes to enjoy the outdoors, listen to the birds, or find a pleasant view. 

Disconnect from your electronic devices for five minutes and sit in a comfortable place, away from distractions, with the deliberate intention of enjoying the peace and quiet.

When we fail to make time for quiet, the day is full of busy moments—and missed opportunities to know God. This Lent, seek silence. Once your seeking becomes part of your routine, you can slip into prayer the same way.



3. Pray the Scriptures

Scripture is a treasure of revelations on the merciful love of God. Accompany Christ through Lent by entering into the Scriptures. If you haven't opened your Bible in quite a while, it might sound intimidating, but it can be as simple as the daily Mass readings or just the Gospel passage. 

Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to whatever the Lord has for you in the reading. Read quietly, then spend five minutes in silent recollection. What resonates with you? How does it apply to your life and to what God is asking of you each day?

Consider one resolution for the day, a small commitment encompassing a theme that stood out to you. It could be as simple as praying for someone who has angered you, or doing a small, anonymous act of charity for a stranger. Strive to meet your commitment before the next day's Gospel reading.



4. Make Small Sacrifices

Many of us are familiar with the moving quote by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, "In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."

Make this Lent a season of sacrificial love with mindful sacrifices each day. You can offer these sacrifices in reparation for sin or for special intentions. You can also do them for the glory of God alone, to show your love for Him.

When done with love and a willing spirit, these small offerings become part of your path to holiness. The key is the love with which we offer them. Have you ever used sacrifice beads? They help you keep track of your sacrifices, offerings, and acts of charity—not to keep score, but as a reminder to repeatedly perform acts of love throughout your day.

When you make an act of sacrificial love, you gently push one bead toward the crucifix at the end of the strand. That's no coincidence. When exercised frequently, charity and sacrifice become natural inclinations. The more loving and sacrificial we become, the closer we are to imaging Christ and His own sacrificial love. We show God our love and reflect His love to others. 



5. Renew Your Commitment to the Mass

If you don't attend Mass on weekdays, consider doing so during Lent. Yes, it's a big sacrifice, and because of that, God will make it incredibly fruitful. Reordering our days in a way that truly prioritizes Him from the earliest hours shows Him our love and reveals our desire for Him. He will meet that desire with incredible graces, because it is the desire of His Heart too. 

Choose only one day if that's the most manageable way to start. Of course, Friday is a special day during Lent for daily Mass—but any day is the perfect day to unite with Him in the Eucharist. You will be amazed at the impact of that small sacrifice of time for Him. Those six Fridays will immerse you in the season and draw you to Him in love.

If daily Mass is not possible, renew your commitment to being fully present during Sunday Mass. Make a concerted effort to guard against distractions and enter into the Mass as devotedly as possible.

Arrive a few minutes early and pray in advance to prepare your heart. Stay a few minutes late and enjoy a moment of silent thanksgiving before you leave. Bring a notebook in which you can jot down themes from the homily for later reflection. Strive to see the Mass with new eyes.



shallow focus photography of brown wooden floor signage

6. Receive the Sacrament of Christ's Mercy

Prioritize the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There is no better way to begin a season of repentance than to experience it in the depths of our own souls. After we receive that gift from God, we can go out into the world and reflect it to others. 

Most parishes have Lenten penance services, but if you can make it to Confession before then, you will likely have a more peaceful experience. You won't feel as rushed, the crowd will be smaller, and you will have the time you need to make the most complete confession possible.

Sadly, many Catholics seem to have given up the Sacrament of Penance. They are missing not only the forgiveness of their sins but also a whole torrent of graces. In the Sacrament of Confession, we are strengthened to persevere in the trials of this life. Our hope and faith are fortified and renewed by the graces of Reconciliation.

If we are seeking to be transformed interiorly so we may be united with God in heaven, we must recognize the reality of sin in our lives and turn away from it with firm conviction. The Sacrament of Penance makes that interior transformation possible.


Living Lent

Lent is a short journey of reflection, meant to reawaken our sense for the immensity of His love—because our frail human natures need reminding. When we fully enter into these 40 days, they can heighten our desire to serve Him more faithfully—and image Him more closely.

Entering in does not have to feel intimidating. These six steps are simple ways to meet Him in His Passion. When we do, we can repent of whatever separates us from Christ. We can re-acknowledge and receive His merciful love, rising again with Him in triumph, our lives remade, our hearts changed.

In these small ways and many others, we can truly "live" Lent. When we accompany Christ in His Passion, we share in His Resurrection with an even greater love, experiencing the hope of our own resurrections and the promise of the life to come.