A simple plan for Lent

What is the story of Lent?

Jesus went into the desert to fast and pray before beginning his work for God. Jesus was tempted several times by Satan, but was able to resist.

Lent allows us Catholics to remember Jesus’s fasting in the desert. It is a time of giving things up and a test of self-discipline.

There are many foods that some people do not eat in Lent, such as meat, eggs, and milky foods. Some people just give up something they really enjoy, such as cakes or chocolate.

All too often, people either take on too much or don’t take on enough. The solution is to simplify our Lenten intentions, focusing our intentions and concentrate more clearly on our spiritual goals.

Try to keep it simple this Lent, try focusing on, one sin, one positive activity, one give-up. Concentrate or focus on one sin or fault that is getting in the way of your relationship with God and with others. Add one positive activity that will deepen your prayer and spiritual life (especially if you think you are too busy to put anything more into an impossibly busy schedule!). Deny yourself something you really like or are attached to.

One sin

Most of us, if we are honest, know at least one area of sin to focus on during Lent.

If you need help in identifying which sin to concentrate on this year, ask God in prayer to reveal it to you. If you still aren’t sure, ask your family or close friends. Just be sure you are willing to listen to them and accept their assessment.

One positive activity

The next step is to add one thing of God to your routine that you haven’t been doing. Because we are all so busy, it’s a good idea to not just pick an activity, but to schedule a regular time when you put it on your calendar so you don’t “forget.”

Ideas for positive activities are pretty much endless, but some include:

◗ Go to Mass during the week

◗ Attend the Stations of the Cross as a family

◗ Read a Gospel

◗ Volunteer / do something to help others

◗ Get up early to pray

One give up

Giving up something for Lent has been part of the Church almost since the beginning. While giving up sweets and alcohol are time-honoured, consider giving up one thing that you really like or enjoy. Just make sure it is something that lets you feel the deprivation and is at least a little bit challenging. Make it difficult but doable.

◗ Don’t fault find or nag, and don’t be critical of others have an open mind.

◗ Give up impulse purchases.

◗ Give up an unhealthy habit, like smoking.

◗ Limit the time you watch television or surf the Web.

◗ Give up eating out and donate the money you save.