Doesn't Lent just always have a way of sneaking up on you? It does for me. I never feel like I've really taken the time to pray for discernment in the area of what I should "give up" for Lent.
But, Ash Wednesday isn't over yet, right? So, it's not too late.
We've all got a little "to-do" list of things we'd like to do more of or do less of. I'd like to challenge you to dig a little deeper, though. Deeper than you would for your typical New-Years-Resolution type offering.
For my Lenten reading, I'm using The Little Black Book. It's a small vade mecum book with 2 pages for each day of Lent, plus the three days preceeding. It's designed to help the reader take 5-6 minutes of quiet with the Lord each day. This is doable for me. I can find 5-6 minutes in my day!
The reading for the Sunday before Ash Wednesday was really great and I want to share it with you....
"We need to use today's six minutes and God's help in making our plans for this Lent.
We all have a file of resolutions in the back of our mind. These are the ones we usually pull out at a time like this.
Maybe we'd do better to put those aside for a moment and find out what God has in mind for us. It may be something we've never thought of, or something that surprises us. Put yourself in that scene from the Gospel at the top of the page for a moment, ('Jesus said to his apostles, "Come to an out-of-the-way place and rest a little..." Mark 6:31) only make it just the Lord and yourself, alone in a quiet place.
Talk straight with him.
"Lord, you sometimes surprise me. What do you want me to write on the left-hand page?"
(The left hand page being referred to is where we are to write out our plans for Lent.)
There's nothing wrong with giving up sweets or coffee for Lent. Those are perfectly honorable sacrifices, especially if you're like me and depend very much on your caffeine and chocolate fixes to get you through the day with any amount of friendliness. But I'd like to challenge you to just take a few moments to sit quietly with the Lord and ask HIM what he desires for your Lenten season. Allow him to come into your heart and shape your soul this season, you might be surprised!
If you need a few ideas for your family, Danielle Bean over at catholicnh.org wrote a great list of ways to pray, fast, and give.
~You are loved by an Awesome God~