Wouldn’t it be great to wake up seven days from now and know exactly what you are going to do rather than scrambling and coming up with something less than spectacular? We are seven days away from Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. There is no better time to prepare than now!
There are all kinds of categories from which to choose! So many options! So many ways to grow in freedom, joy, and holiness! It is like an amazing box of chocolates. Which one will you take? The difference is that chocolate taste great but then leaves you with that extra pound around your middle. These, however, may taste a bit bitter at first but then leave you with many gifts and consolations.
You are an entire person. You faith effects all of these. What can you do to make them better in 40 days?
These are the basic, but not only tools. These come first however. They are the foundation stones. How will you meet all of them during these 40 days?
What have you NOT been doing that you should? What have you been doing that you shouldn’t?
In addition to what you can do for yourself, what can you improve in yourself for others? What can you improve in yourself for the Kingdom?
Sometimes people will ask if Lenten observances should be just during Lent? Can they be skipped on Sundays and Feast days? Well that depends.
Let’s say that you are trying to give up drinking too much alcohol for Lent. Drinking to excess is not good for you (or those around you) anyway. So that would be a good one to start in Lent and carry our through the rest of your life on a pretty much absolute basis.
What about giving in on Sundays? There are a number of questions to ask. Firstly, is it something that is otherwise not good for you or sinful? Then no, don’t do it on Sunday as a “break.” If you gave up cake, don’t eat an entire cake on Sunday in celebration. ON THE OTHER HAND (and here is a good reason to plan things now) what is your commitment? Is it something that is not necessarily bad for you in moderation? Did you give up coffee except on Sundays? Or did you give up coffee?
Is you Lenten observance (or part of it) something that you are doing quietly – a “don’t let your right hand . . .” thing? Do you want to employ others for support? (I highly recommend this for breaking habits.) What is your parish doing for Lent? Plan NOW to join that which you will have wished that you did at the end of Lent. (Stations, missions, benedictions, confessions, concerts, classes, adoration, daily Mass . . .)
In any event – plan now so that at the end of the season you don’t have to think, “Wow, I really didn’t take advantage of this season in the least.” You will have eaten it down to its marrow and rejoiced in the improved you.