Are you still deciding what to give up or take up for Lent that will help you grow closer to God? Me too. Normally, I give up sugar – it’s a pattern-interrupter that reminds me many times every day how good God is and how I can take his sweetness for granted. But I’m considering two other ideas.
Trials of the day
The first is from Father John Langlois, OP, who says the following idea has been especially fruitful for him. “Rather than choosing a penance for yourself, allow God to choose a daily penance for you and then say ‘yes’ to that!…[A]ccept the daily inconveniences, trials, disappointments, and frustrations that come your way without…complaint…[I]f you wholeheartedly embrace this form of penance you will find yourself in a true battle with your rebellious self….”
That reminds me of something the late Fr. John Hardon, SJ, said: “If you want to be holy, stop complaining.” Give up complaining for Lent? Now, there’s a challenge!
If you choose Fr. Langlois’ penance, I highly suggest that you write down every day (maybe in the evening) what the trials were that you offered for Lent that day. It’s a way of keeping your intention strong and remembering how many victories God gave you.
My favorite sin
The second idea is from Father Bill Wadsworth, who suggests giving up “a sin that you are good at….a favorite sin that we just love to commit.” Think gossip or procrastination. He adds, “It probably will be really hard, but that’s a good thing!” …I’m assuming Father Bill has tried this for 40 days and survived. :)
For this one, it’s good to keep in mind that we’re going for the small victories. For example, if my main sin is gossip, try for one time that day when you put on your “mental duct tape” and don’t say anything. It’s easy to forget how powerful small victories are — they are building blocks to an entirely new habit! And that’s worth celebrating.
Prayerful reading of scripture and holy books is another great Lenten practice. Below are some resources, for you and your children and grandchildren, to help keep focused on God for those precious 40 days – our tithe of the year.
LENTEN IDEAS FOR CHILDREN
40 Days of Lent Card Pack for Children
- 40 Days: A child’s journey through Lent
- A great way for kids to walk through Lent with purpose
- Creative ideas for daily sacrifices centered around home and family
Educate your kids about the Holy Days of Lent and the importance of small sacrifices with daily activities that are as thoughtful as they are simple. Designed to promote enthusiastic participation and written for genuine learning, this Lenten card pack for kids will bring your child’s Lent to life while focusing on the ultimate sacrifice: Christ’s death. After all, each of the 40 days is a unique opportunity for your child to develop and exercise his or her spiritual muscles. At an age where small sacrifices feel suspiciously like chores, parenting your child through Lent can be tricky. This is a great tool to help your child through this special and Holy time of year.
Children’s Lent 2019 Activity Book
Created and illustrated by Aleesa McCarthy, an Alaskan wife and mother of three who couldn’t find good Catholic activity books for little ones, so she decided to make this for her children — and now you can have one for your children and grandchildren, too!
FOR GRADE 6 and UP
Lenten Paschal Journal
From the Dominican sisters at Lumen Ecclesiae Press, a Lenten journal for age 11 and older, including adults!
Conversing with God in Lent
Pope Benedict XVI and a Synod of Bishops have recommended that lay people pray the Scriptures using lectio divina, a way of drawing out deeper meaning from the Word. In this book, respected biblical scholar Stephen J. Binz chooses one of the three Mass readings for each Sunday during Lent, including the complete text of the reading. Then he leads readers through the steps of lectio divina: reading, meditation, prayer, contemplation, and action by suggesting themes and verses to focus on. Discussion questions make this a perfect Lenten resource for individuals and parish groups.
Meditations for Lent
This volume is for those of us who love the old-school spiritual writers. Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, a renowned preacher in his time, penned this classic in 17th-century France. It includes a meditation for each day of Lent. Modern edition published by Sophia Institute Press.
I’m recommending these resources because I fully believe in them. If you purchase from the links above, Virtue Connection may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.