We are full swing into the year and Lent will be here before you know it. Every year we hear the conversations about who will give up what, but sometimes we forget that we can take up something, too. Lest we forget, Lent is a season of repentance and preparation for Easter.
During this time, we remember the passion of our Lord, our own sin, and how through the grace of Christ we can become better. Here are three ways in which we can deepen our relationship with Christ this Lenten season.
1. Set aside time
Prayer is essential in building our relationship with our Lord. Sometimes we do it just to say we did it. Sort of liking checking it off a to-do list. We must also take time to listen. There are several ways in which we can pray. In fact, there are few wrong ways to pray. A couple years ago I took up the Liturgy of the Hours for Lent. For those that don’t know, this set of prayers are required for all those who are ordained, but the Church urges the lay faithful to take up the breviary, too. It is one of the primary prayers for the Church, after the Mass of course. Other options are the Rosary, Chaplet of Divine mercy, or simply pray from your heart. Whatever your preference, set time aside, stick with it, and soon spending time with the Lord in prayer will be something that you have to do.
2. Eucharistic adoration
The Catechism teaches that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. The Eucharist is such an amazing gift and adoration adds to this mystery.
Part of prayer is to contemplate, or listen, instead of simply talking. In adoration we sit and listen to the Lord. We look at him in the Blessed Sacrament and spend time with the creator of the universe. Many great saints spent at least one hour per day in Eucharistic Adoration. I understand that this may not be feasible for most, but how about a few minutes?
If you have never participated, I promise that it will change you. If your parish does not offer adoration, some don’t, check out other parishes in your diocese to find out who does. Most will mention it on their website. Go, pray, and spend time with the Lord.
3. Go to Confession
This third item may scare some, but the Sacrament of Reconciliation is underutilized. Everyone sins and we have all messed up. In this sacrament, we experience the love and mercy of God in a real and tangible way. I have spoken with many who avoid confession because they don’t want the priest to know what they did. There is no sin that the priest has never heard. Odds are pretty much zero that you have invented any new sins.
The church says that we should go a minimum of once per year. That is fine, but most of us should be going more. Pope Francis himself goes once per week! Don’t be afraid to go. There is nothing to be afraid of and God loves you. I recommend trying to go once per month.
There are other things we can do to grow closer to the lord over Lent, and all the ones mentioned are meant to become habits that continue after Lent is over. Other things we can do are daily scripture reading, random acts of kindness for someone we don’t know, and volunteering in our parish. God bless you and have a great Lent.
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