Mar 2, 2019 filed under Living Virtue.

Lent Ash Wednesday cross

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.

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!

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.

If you’re still discerning, below are some resources, for people of all ages, to help keep us focused on God for those precious 40 days – our tithe of the year.

Love always,


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!



Lenten Paschal Journal

From the Dominican sisters of, 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.

8 Responses to “Is it Lent Already?”

  1. Sharon O'Brien

    I look forward to your werkly visit. This. one is tops! Thanks for including your article in Catholic Exchange about priests.


  2. Tom Roberts

    Give up complaining for Lent. Complaining has been a lifelong hobby. Most of it is internal conversation. After 70+ years I have discovered most people would rather hear something positive. If what I say is positive and happens to be true, it’s an insight. Insights tend to displace views that generate complaints.

    I recently joined a book club consisting mostly of retired professors. I read, study and annotate the chapters for the day and come prepared to discuss the book. Only they don’t discuss the book. They often get into a pedantic discussion, but not about the book. After the last meeting I complained to my friend who had introduced me to the group. Then, just 20 minutes later, I sent him an email saying it was okay, having realized I joined the group to relieve the isolation of being a widower, make some new friends and become immersed in the stimulating academic environment of ideas. So I learned a whole lot studying the book and gained a whole lot from the thoughts of interesting people. The fact that the two had little to do with each other may even been a bonus, a twofer deal.

    • Rose Folsom

      Yes, the internal carping is the tough thing. I’m trying to watch that during Lent, if nothing else to begin to realize how much I do it.

  3. Linda Burr

    Great ideas for Lent, Rose! Thanks very much for sharing! I’ll be passing this on to other email buddies!


  4. Diane Isabelle

    Hi Rose,

    Here’s another suggestion, which was given to the parishioners by our deacon at St. Catherine Laboure this past Sunday: Read the first 43 chapters of Sirach during Lent, for advice on good living. I’ve already started. If I read a chapter each day, I can finish by Easter.

    • Rose Folsom

      I love Sirach. What a great idea. I’ve just started the letters of Padre Pio. Reminds me how little I have to complain about compared to him!