Make Lent Matter
Lent is a really important season in the year – a time of really deep reflection about our discipleship and spiritual lives. It lasts for 40 days (excluding Sundays) and takes as its inspiration the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness.
If we engage with Lent, each one of us can take a profound spiritual journey, the purpose of which is to lead us closer to Christ.
Lent is a time of fasting, prayer, penance and charity. It’s a time when we take a good long hard look at ourselves and the ways in which we are not loving God or our neighbour.
It is a solemn time. But it is not a depressing time. It can be a time of challenge, growth and real closeness to God. But it requires a bit more effort than deciding to give up chocolate or booze.
I encourage all of you to spend 10 minutes today/tomorrow working out how you are going to mark a good and holy Lent over the next 40 days. Pray about it. Think about it.
When working out what would be good for you to do, I personally find these words from the Liturgy for Ash Wednesday very helpful:
“By carefully keeping these days, Christians take to heart the call to repentance and the assurance of forgiveness
proclaimed in the gospel, and so grow in faith and in devotion to our Lord. I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy word.”
AND from the Eucharist Prayer:
For in these forty days you lead us into the desert of repentance
that through a pilgrimage of prayer and discipline
we may grow in grace
and learn to be your people once again.
Through fasting, prayer and acts of service
you bring us back to your generous heart.
Through study of your holy word
you open our eyes to your presence in the world
and free our hands to welcome others
into the radiant splendour of your love.
Read those words again and have a think what YOU need to put in place to engage with those challenges.
Every Lent I try to
- SLOW THE PACE
- INCREASE THE SILENCE
- ENGAGE WITH NATURE
- MEDITATE ON THE BIBLE
- TACKLE A HABITUAL SIN
- BELIEVE IN GRACE
This year I’m conscious of feeling distracted by overwork and social media. My mind is flitting about from one thing to the other.
So this year, I want to intentionally slow down and go deeper.
I aim to
- To Read Augustine’s Confessions (spiritual reading)
- To have 10 minutes intentional silence every day
- To only look at Twitter and Instagram at 1pm every day for (no late night scrolling)
- To pay particular attention to nature
- To work on my irritability
I’ve made a little Lenten Rule of life:
- Intentionally slow the pace
- Everyday say Morning and Evening Prayer
- Spend 10 minutes in silence every day
- Reduce meat and sweet things
- No alcohol
- Be attentive to nature
- Focus on being less irritable
But through all these things what I’m trying to be is more prayerful. Less distracted. Less unfocussed.
I’m trying to connect more with God, through reading the Bible and holy books, through silence, through nature.
And through that openness and attentiveness I hope to grow in holiness.
Your journey and your list will be different.
Your distractions and temptations are not the same as mine.
But don’t just give up chocolate.
Come on a spiritual adventure.
Be brave and create the space.
Take some time. Let this be a profound pilgrimage together over the next 40 days.
Peace and grace and every blessing for a good and holy Lent.