Lent is right around the corner. How are you making this year’s penitential season special?
Every year, my family comes up with same boring things to give up for Lent. We classically give up biting nails, fighting with family members, or chewing gum. Some of us even go to the extreme of giving up coffee.
But maybe you, like our family, want to do something new this year. Here’s a new and fresh list of epic things to do or give up.
Be sure to add your own ideas in the comments too!
Things to give up
- Bashing on people on social media
- Cutting people off in traffic
- Having a bad attitude at work or home
- Scrolling endlessly through social media
- Swiping left or right, instead make real connections
- Complaining about school work
- Hating others
- The sin you bring to confession the most
- Speaking poorly about yourself
- An app that you spend way too much time on
Things to do
- Begin the morning with prayer
- Remind yourself to have hope
- Write a friend an encouraging message
- Let someone go in front of you in line at the store
- Pay for the person in line behind you
- Place a message of God’s love on cars in a parking lot
- Give a random person a compliment
- Write something good that happens each day
- Download a Catholic app (and use it!)
- Pick a book of the Bible and read through all of it
- Join a Lenten study at your parish
- Spend an hour a week one-on-one with family members
Things to try
- Write the word JOY on your hand and live it
- Carry a rosary in your pocket
- Pray the rosary daily (start with just a decade)
- Donate time at an pregnancy center or homeless shelter
- Take a deep breath and pray before confronting someone
- Talk to the Holy Spirit
- Pray for the person who cut you off in traffic
- Talk honestly to someone about something that has been bothering/irritating you
- Smile more often
- Hug a friend
- Pray with someone right in that moment when they ask for prayers
- Start a nightly group prayer with the family before bed
- Live the Gospel
People and things to pray for
- Government leaders, regardless of who you voted for
- North Korea, Iran, Iraq, China, Russia, and all nations where there is turmoil
- Someone you would consider an enemy
- The end of a sin in your life
- For a forgiving heart when you don’t want to forgive
- Each person you interact with on social media
- Your priests, bishops, and Pope Francis
- The Catholic Church
- An end of abortion
- Your favorite celebrity
- Intentionally pray for one family member or friend each day of Lent
- Pray every time before you start working after taking a break
- Go to Eucharistic Adoration at least once a week during Lent
- Go to an extra Mass during the week
Lent is supposed to be a time of sacrifice and self-reflection on our relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Whatever you choose to “do” for Lent, remember to offer it up as a sacrifice.
This season, remember that you can join in the suffering of Jesus on the cross.
Before you decide your Lenten game plan, a few reminders about this liturgical season. The Church asks us to abstain and give up meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. We’re also called to give up meat on Fridays, so hit up a parish fish fry and get to know the people you sit beside in the pew on the weekend.
Remember, if you give something up, you don’t have to continue the sacrifice on Sundays. Sundays are celebration days (holy days), not fasting days.
Finally, go to confession before Easter Sunday!