Ash Wednesday is just a week away.
Everyone has already started talking about what they are giving up for Lent. A friend even asked me two weeks ago what my plans were for Lent.
So what are my plans?
My goal is to emerge at Easter looking more like Christ. To grow in love for God. To grow in love for neighbour. That last one is going to be hard because I know a few "neighbours" who get on my last nerve but I need to figure out how to act and react in a loving way.
I need to figure out and work on what hinders me from looking more like Christ. What keeps people from seeing Christ in me. Also what keeps me from loving God more.
With that being said how I am going to achieve that. First by not getting myself over committed. I am going to start seeing what everyone else is doing and it's going to sound great and I'm going to think maybe I should try that or this and just maybe I can fit that in somewhere. I'm letting myself know right now that I can't. Don't get me wrong there just might be something that I discover that I would love and be able to do but I have to let myself be okay right now that it's okay if I can't.
The only thing I ever really give up for Lent is meat, I don't eat it on Fridays anyhow. I do not eat meat throughout the whole of the Lenten season, not even on Sundays. Even though I do it every year it's hard, I am a carnivore so beans do not cut it. I don't really like to cook fish so I'm bored and irritated before the end of week two.
I'm still giving up meat but I am also giving up the bad attitude I have about it. Every time I feel the "I need meat" bad attitude coming on I am going offer up a prayer for someone. I'm going to be praying a lot. I am also going to pray for someone with every meal I prepare. Baking is my joy, preparing fish and vegetarian meals are not.
I'm not big on giving up stuff for Lent because I prefer to add things to my life. It has work out in the past that some of these things stick beyond Easter Sunday. I attend Daily Mass, I prayed the Liturgy of the Hours for years, I listen to Catholic radio and I don't eat meat on Fridays.
This year I want to pray the Angelus at least once a day, preferably at noon but sometimes that may not always work so 6 in the evenings if I miss noon.
I want to start going to confession every 2 weeks. I go monthly now and every two weeks is going to mean going on a Saturday which I have always hated. However my goal is to work on what hinders me from looking like Christ so I got to suck it up, besides I went last Saturday and it wasn't that bad. I just need to always get there early.
Station of The Cross on Fridays. My friend's parish has it in the evenings with Mass to follow, so a group of us usually go then go out to dinner after. Great way to encourage each other and to be encouraged.
I'm going to do a daily challenge jar. I use the Magnificat Lenten Companion every year and they usually have a daily penance or activity but I want something that is specific and personal to me. In that jar I will also be adding prayer requests so feel free to leave a comment with your name or request if you would like me to pray for you.
The only thing I am still up in the air about is what book am I going to read. I have a few suggestions Dating God: Live and Love the Way of St Francis, Change Our Hearts: Daily Meditations for Lent, Stories of Jesus: 40 Days of Prayer and Reflection, My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir. I have a week to choose a book but I'm the person who goes into a bookstore, spends 2 hours trying to decide between two books and leaves with six.
So what are everyone else's Lenten plans?