LENT; a time to reconnect and restore right relationships with life (pondering), with our bodies (fasting) and with others (almsgiving).
Does it sound like an advertisement for a wellbeing weekend?
I often find it intriguing to discover how ‘modern’ health advertisements physical, psychological and spiritual call on proven Christian methods to sell their ‘newly founded’ wares.
From the earliest of Christian days preparation for the great feast of Easter recalled the importance of 40 days in the history of our ancestors’ faith.
Moses stayed in the mountains for 40 days and nights, fasting in preparation for receiving the Ten Commandments.
Elijah walked 40 days and 40 nights to the mountain of the Lord, Mount Horeb.
And of course Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert before beginning His public ministry.
By the end of the fourth century Lent as we know it existed, and in different countries of the world various modes of fasting and penance grew up.
Pope St Gregory issued the following rule: “We abstain from flesh, meat and, from all things that come from flesh, such as milk, cheese and eggs”.
How about some of these suggestions for this Lent in the light of pondering, fasting and almsgiving?
If because of the ‘business’ of life family dinner is a difficult time, then make the breakfast hour sacred.
You might have to get up a little earlier, however a meal and a prayer together could lead to a happier day.
Take time every day to draw in a sketchbook.
Call it your ‘God’ time.
Taking time to reflect.
About the people you are always promising to contact; or the pleasant things that you would like to do.
Write down 40 such tasks and place them in a jar.
Each morning take one out, surprise yourself and then act upon the message.
Have a spell from listening to music or talkback radio while in the car.
Dedicate the time to listening in the silence, praying for those in need, being thankful for the gift of loved ones and noticing the beautiful world around you.
Bring to mind while at prayer the name of someone who has had an impact on your life.
Take the time to write a note of gratitude to that person.
This embodies the idea of Lent:
■Prayer – praying for a specific person each day.
■Fasting – fasting from negative thoughts.
■Almsgiving – sending a note with affirmation is a great gift to give.
Enjoy a prayerful, fasting and almsgiving time this season.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church