As we prepare for Easter, reflect on the promises that we made, or our parents and God Parents made on our behalf, at Baptism.
How will we reject Satan, and all his works, and all his empty promises? What can we change in our lives so that we can reject sin in order to live in the freedom of God’s children? Do we truly believe, in the depths of our hearts, the Creed that we profess every Sunday? How can we better profess our faith and proclaim it to others?
This Lent let us all take a hard look in the mirror at our souls. It is a time to pray, fast, and give more of ourselves to others. We ask God’s help to turn our lives more completely to Him so that we can truly become disciples of Jesus Christ. A great way to prepare for Easter is to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance and to participate in daily Mass.
SUGGESTIONS FOR A FRUITFUL LENT:
A good idea is to set up a prayer space in your home. Decorate the space with a crucifix, candles, Icon or a Holy picture, and display a bible. It is a visible reminder to pray every day. It is easier to develop the habit of praying if we resolve to pray at the same time every day.
St. John Chrysostom on Prayer
“Prayer stands before God as an honored ambassador. It gives joy to the spirit, peace to the heart. I speak of prayer, not words. It is the longing for God, love too deep for words, a gift not given by man but by God’s grace. The apostle Paul says: We do not know how we are to pray but the Spirit himself pleads for us with inexpressible longings.)
Prayer of St. Francis Of Assisi
This is one of my favorite prayers.
“All highest, glorious God, cast your light into the darkness of my heart. Give me right faith, firm hope, perfect charity and profound humility, with wisdom and perception, O Lord, so that I may do what is truly your holy will. Amen”
We fast to prepare for the great feast.
Fasting reminds us to hunger for God. When we fast we should pray. Fasting is an aid to prayer. It is not a self help method. Jesus told his disciples to fast and pray, and it is an ancient practice of the Church.
Fasting: A Way to Radical Transformation
Catholics usually give something up for Lent. But sometimes we forget the purpose of this noble practice. We should fast from something, a behavior, habit, food or drink that tempts us away from the Lord and towards sin. The purpose is to leave behind our old way of living permanently and not just for Lent.
Give More Alms
Excerpt from Pope Benedict’s Lenten Message
”In our journey, we are often faced with the temptation of accumulating and love of money that undermine God’s primacy in our lives. The greed of possession leads to violence, exploitation and death; for this, the Church, especially during the Lenten period, reminds us to practice almsgiving – which is the capacity to share. The idolatry of goods, on the other hand, not only causes us to drift away from others, but divests man, making him unhappy, deceiving him, deluding him without fulfilling its promises, since it puts materialistic goods in the place of God, the only source of life. How can we understand God’s paternal goodness, if our heart is full of egoism and our own projects, deceiving us that our future is guaranteed? The temptation is to think, just like the rich man in the parable: “My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come…”. We are all aware of the Lord’s judgment: “Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul…” (Lk 12: 19-20). The practice of almsgiving is a reminder of God’s primacy and turns our attention towards others, so that we may rediscover how good our Father is, and receive his mercy.”
Build Up Your Spiritual Muscles: Grow in Virtue
Give up Pride; Cultivate Humility
Give up Greed; Cultivate Generosity
Give up Envy; Cultivate Charity
Give up Anger; Cultivate Meekness
Give up Lust; Cultivate Chastity
Give up Excess; Cultivate Temperance (Moderation)
Give up sloth (laziness); Cultivate Diligence
A Prayer from St. Augustine
The house of my soul is narrow;
enlarge it that you may enter in.
It is ruinous, O repair it!
It displeases Your sight.
I confess it, I know.
But who shall cleanse it,
to whom shall I cry but to you?
Cleanse me from my secret faults, O Lord,
and spare Your servant from strange sins.