>Preparing to connect: Lent approaches: part 2

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Fair warning: it’s long. Again.

The desert. Ok, it’s one week away. Lent that is…well, actually, technically, Fat Tuesday is one week away, Ash Wednesday, one week and one day. But you get my drift. A week, one more week left to sort through, sift and ponder so many ideas and ways. So, I thought I’d give you all some lists to help the process, or, ok, at least to help my process {because yes, as usual, it’s all about me! And yes, I’d give it up if I could, for Lent even, but apparently, I cannot.}.

First and foremost, for a megapost, with mega links to all things Lent, go to Aggie Catholics, they’ve already done all the work: the faqs, the links the ideas, lists, history, resources. They have done such a great job that there is not much need for my measly post, except to list those ideas that came in the comment box to this last thread/post (part 1) and those of my near and dear who don’t ever post or comment (You know who you are and it’s ok, but see, I still find ways to bring you in, aw.).

So, without futher ado: lists! (oh boy! and um, disclaimer: these are all just suggestions people, by regular joes like you and me, no official judgements or ranking, it’s just a mere perusal).

Fasting and Abstinence Idea list:
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence, meaning two small meals, no snacks and one regular meal in the evening (w/ 2 small meals not adding up to more than the regular meal), plus no meat. All other Fridays are days of abstaining from meat (fish doesn’t count as meat). Again, go to Aggie Catholics for all the good background on the details and the why’s and hows of this, but these are the basics.
[And just as a reminder: this is not about somehow “working” to earn something or by “doing” chalk up enough points or merits or whatever to get God to reward us or anything remotely of that nature. It is to work on stripping ourselves of the things that keep us from really living our faith and loving Christ better; it’s to get past the things that take our attention and eyes and focus off of God alone and onto, as usual, ourselves. It’s not a second chance at New Year’s Resolutions and it’s not at all about extra benefits other than growth in love and holiness, Sister Mary Martha, as usual, makes a good point, clearly. Just saying….] So, onward:

Ethiopian Fast: no food before three p.m., no meat, dairy, fats, all the days of lent.
Half, eating mindfully less/half as an end to mindless gluttony
Alchohol
Chocolate
Sweets, sugar
Treats in general
Snacking
Fried foods
Hamburgers, fries
Cookies, cookie dough
Sodas
Coffee
Starbucks
Fast Food
Breads
Meat(non-food items):
Shopping
Internet
Blogging
TV
Excessive phone time
Novels
Comments on blogs (closing comments)
Computer
Facebook
Complaining
Gossip
Speeding
Yelling at kids
Eating out
Liver simpler

Additions: Another classic way of observing Lent is adding something to your normal daily life, but in a positive mode. So that the tone is not only of stripping away, but of improving and finding the worth in some other activity that we’ve put off or not considered before.

Cooking for shut-ins, those needing a lift
Visiting elderly regularly (once/twice week)
Calling parents twice week
Biting tongue when wanting to be snide or cranky
Doing something daily for benefit of X (specific person)
Doing one extra something with your kid, daily of course
Practice extra patience
Taking on an extra chore, unseen
Daily compliment to stranger
Forgive the little hurts and big old grudges
Practice the “Little Way” of St. Therese (much harder than it looks)
Heroic Moment (get out of bed when you’re supposed to, not those extra five minutes…ow)

Prayer/Spiritual Effort/Additions: The second facet in the tri-part effort in observing Lent, obviously, the most important on so many levels. And sometimes the most challenging, even though on a practical level, seemingly easiest.

Daily rosary
Daily mass (daily or a few extra)
Extra Holy Hour (adoration)
Scripture study, organized or private
Daily time w/ bible reading
Get up early to pray, read (quiet time)
Daily offering
Vespers weekly
Liturgy of the Hours
Spiritual Reading (another list to come)
Confession (more, weekly, whatever is an increase)
Stations of the Cross
Join an ongoing church ministry
Legion of Mary
Pray for those who bother you, or is an “enemy”, regularly
Focused, slow prayerAlmsgiving: The third in the trifecta of Lenten observance: payer, fasting, almsgiving. So so many options here. Of course we have our personal favorites, seen in the sidebar and the main subject of this blog (orphans, adoption). But really, our world is literally crying out for more charity, so this one won’t be hard to figure out.Give to the poor, period.
Give the money you would have used for those Double Vente Lattes to a food bank.
Start tithing.
Up your tithing.
Clear out your change, purge those drawers, purses, car seat pockets – give to a shelter, your favorite charity etc
Purge your closets of those unneeded, unworn clothes and shoes and stuff.
Make a pledge to a charity, those small monthly bits add up to miracles.
I could do just an endless list of all the great charities and ways to support them out there. But most of you are already wayyyy ahead of me. So I won’t.

But I (because I am a nervous weany) sometimes need to be reminded of this, especially in these dicey economic times (and no one is untouched, really): You can’t outdo God in the generosity contest. Period. Ever. He’s already won. Look around you, all that stuff? Pure gift. You may well have worked your fanny off for it, but even so…pure gift: the job to work at, the stuff to have. So, try to trust. It’s Lent. It’s the time to remember how much can and has been given.

So, again…SOOO much here to think about, to ponder and pray about. Again, go to Aggie Catholic, they have all the good background and history and links. There are probably more posts coming…. I think I might put up a post on reading (because I love books) for Lent. Oh, and the Stations, love those, did my senior show on those! OH, and kid stuff too…they don’t have to do the fasting and all but I have found that they really do get something out of trying. And yeah, they blow it, but no more so than I do! Again, it’s the effort, the struggle that is where I find the changes in me.
I really DO love Lent and want to have a mindful Lent. I need it SO much, especially this year. So there will be Lenten posts. For those of you not interested, sorry! Skip ’em. Otherwise, maybe some of you will find some new ideas. I already have; I’ve just not yet decided on what will be best to undertake.

3 thoughts on “>Preparing to connect: Lent approaches: part 2

  1. >Thanks for sharing your thoughts on lent. I’ve never visited your blog before, but I ended up here by clicking on links from other adoption blogs. Anyway, I wanted to say your post was an encouragement to follow through with some of the ideas that have been floating around in my head.

  2. >So I’ve been reading your blog for a while. I’m a friend of the Bottomly’s and check in on some adoption blogs periodically, and yours is one I love. Perhaps because I think I’m supposed to be Catholic. So much of the tradition speaks to me, it’s so rich…and the tradition doesn’t stifle intimacy with God, it enhances it in such a beautiful way. Anyway, about Lent. I love it (and sometimes hate it). The struggle, the withdrawal from whatever I’ve given up, the renewed closeness to God. I’m giving up shopping (except for groceries). Not just buying things I don’t need, but not even wasting the time looking for things I don’t need. I think it will be enlightening.And please continue the lenten posts…I’ll be checking in!

  3. >Good a.m. For a Lenten Tribute, my husband has started a blogwww.voicefortheorphan.blogspot.comPlease journey with us through the 40 days of Lent. I am a little behind, uh, nothing unusual for me:), in getting this out, but, you can still read and pray with and over the last few days…Diane and family 🙂

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