I'm actually looking forward to Lent and dreading it all at the same time this year. Dreading it because, well, it's Lent. And looking forward to it because I NEED it. Just like the seasons of the weather, God provides us with our own seasons of spirituality. And though they are all necessary for our salvation, I think the times of sacrifice and repentance are the most important. We can't truly celebrate the Easter Vigil without walking the Way of the Cross, right?
This year, I am focusing on the three goals of Lent: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. I don't want to pile on too much, because then I know I'm doomed to fail, but I also don't want any excuses if this turns out to be my last Lent ever.
I need to devote a lot more time each day to prayer. Yes, I say morning and evening prayers with the kids, and we grace before meals, but some days...that's it. I talk to God throughout the day, and I try to remember to offer up my happiness and sorrows, but it's just not enough. SO, this Lent, I am going to attend daily Mass at least two times during the week (it's offered during my lunch break at the Catholic college near my work), go to Stations of the Cross with the family on Friday nights, pray the Rosary on my morning commute, and pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at night with the kids. In order to fit all this in, I'm going to watch less tv and spend less time on the computer.
It's hard being pregnant during Lent, but I will follow all the abstinence rules (no eating between meals on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and no meat on Fridays). I am also giving up all sweets/desserts. If I am hungry after my meal, I can have a piece of fruit, but nothing with added sugar. I had to give up all sweets while pregnant with Maggie (borderline gestational diabetes) so I now I can do this for Jesus.
First and foremost I am going to make sure I remember to give my weekly tithing. Sometimes I forget to bring the envelope to church, and then I don't make it up the next week. I am going to set it to come automatically out of my bank account - no more excuses! If I am cheap, then why would I expect God to be generous?
I also want to go through our toys and clothes and donate tons of stuff to the Salvation Army. I need to detach myself from materialistic things (luckily that's not too hard for me) and clear out the clutter.
Finally, I want to be generous with friends and family. When friends come over and don't bring a dish to share, instead of fuming over it later, I want to thank God for the opportunity to share our food. Instead of worrying about what which family member gets the newest car, or big bonus, I want to thank God for a lesson in humility and poverty. I just want to be a better person.
What are some things you are doing or have done in the past? What's helped you the most?