LENTEN RELECTION FROM ANGIE FOSTER, Ordinand in training to be a priest…

Lenten Reflection

Often people do  not look forward to Lent, as they associate it with giving something up that they enjoy, like chocolate. Words like “sacrifice,” “discipline,” and “self-denial” are often used in ways that suggest that Lent is something to be endured rather than a time of grace and spiritual growth.

Have you ever thought of Lent as a yearly second chance? Each year the Church gives us six weeks to take a long, loving look at our lives to see if our values and priorities are in line with God’s desires for us. Since most of us find that we have wandered from God’s path, Lent becomes that second chance, or rethink what is important and to maybe re-centre our lives.

It can be helpful to highlight some ideas that can encourage us in our attempts to make the time of Lent a meaningful time in our lives. People’s experiences range from finding time for prayer, donating to charity, or volunteering in our community. Inviting family members to share your thoughts, hopes, and desires for Lent can be supportive. Maybe one of the following ideas appeals to you, as you journey through this annual second chance, remembering that each step brings you closer to the welcoming arms of our loving God.

Around the breakfast table
If dinner time is difficult with activities and other commitments, could you get up just a little earlier each morning during Lent, and have some time together to discuss the coming day? Starting the day on a positive note can make a big difference.

Take time every day to draw a picture in a sketchbook, to remember or reflect on an event that day. Alternatively. you could keep a note of three things you are thankful for each day.

A Lenten jar
There are always things to do to help others, or simple acts of kindness that we don’t get round to, so at the beginning of Lent, write down 40 tasks, one on each little piece of paper, and put them in a jar. Then, each morning of Lent, pull one out and do the task written there. It is always a surprise and it can help you do something good for another person.

Time for Quiet
Instead of listening to music or scrolling on your phone, take some time to be quiet and still. At first, it can be difficult as the silence can be deafening. Reflect and be thankful for the small things – sunshine, green shoots of bulbs and flowers, a warmer wind.

A note a day
Each day of Lent, name a person who has had an impact on your life in some way. Take the time to write a handwritten note or an email to that person. Send the notes without the expectation of a response. You might be amazed at the response.

I hope these ideas help to embody the idea of Lent: a time for prayer and reflection, thanksgiving for our blessings, fasting from negative thoughts, and giving; sending a note with thanks is a great gift to give.