What am I going to do for Lent?


Lent begins  Ash Wednesday. What am I going to do for Lent? The supper table is a good place to ask that question, because Lent is about renewing ourselves as we are here and now. The supper table is a sign of life here and now.

Those closest to us there. Doing something for Lent must mean doing something for them, first of all, the people across the table–or maybe those who have left our table because we have driven them away. A scripture reading early on in Lent says: “Don’t turn your back on your own.”  Have we turned our backs on those closest to us because we know them too well or we have hurt them in any way?

Besides the supper table, I guess we should also ask that question “What am I going to do for Lent?” in the place where I work, or where I go to school. Don’t turn your back on them either.

Lent is for renewing ourselves as we are, in real life and real time. We don’t have to leave this world or go to Mars to do that

The Ash Wednesday scriptures say: pray, fast and give alms. What am I going to do for Lent? How about praying each day? How about fasting from my own hard opinions of others? How about looking after someone else instead of myself, someone in need?

How about keeping this terrible situation in the Ukraine in mind? Not just looking at TV Broadcasts or online reports. How about praying for peace there? Looks like  economic sanctions are doing some good. Prayer does more good, if we believe what Jesus says.

Let’s not forget something else, though.  “What’s God going to do for us during Lent?” That’s important. Lent is a time of God’s grace, which is more than we can hope for, beyond what we deserve. The great sign of God’s limitless love is the Passion of his Son, a wondrous love beyond all others.

8 thoughts on “What am I going to do for Lent?

  1. Gail Smyder

    How can we do any better. You are always right on and we can be, too. Thanks seems such a poor word. Amen and a last Alleluia………….for a time…………


  2. Susan

    Very helpful… wish I had read it when you first posted it, but it’s still timely three days later (I get behind in my reading). 🙂 Great post!


  3. ph3lps

    Fr. Victor, thank you for what you wrote. My church does not officially observe this tradition but I started doing it some years ago with the support of a few close friends. I have found it to be a great way to identify with the loving sacrifice of Christ in a small way by pledging my own small sacrifice to him. It may seem silly to some, but I have been fasting from Coffee (something I treasure) for a few years and I dedicate my coffee breaks to reading/praying/contemplation/praising/serving.

    Also, last year I was challenged by a good friend to try fasting from sarcasm (this suggestion shot me through the heart as I realized my friend was speaking the truth in love). While I don’t think I could possibly go 40 days fasting from sarcasm… I’m going to try some smaller periodic fasts to see if I can suspend my sarcastic nature and remain as genuine as possible in my thoughts and words. I’m honestly not sure how successful I will be with this fast, but I’m hoping Christ will accept my attempted sacrifice and draw me closer to him.


  4. jedode1

    Father V, for Lent, rather than focusing on what I’m giving up, I’ve decided to focus on what I’m trying on: Curiosity – the risk of opening up to another. And now I’m beginning to see that this could lead me to give up pretending to know it all, condemning another for being different, and being blind to the needs of my neighbor. Thanks for being a vessel for the Holy Spirit.


  5. vhoagland Post author

    You’re right, there are more ways of fasting both of mind and body, and the Lord recommends all of them. May this time be blessed for us all. FVicto


  6. Gloria

    Fr. Jim’s suggestions made a lasting impression on me. I pray with them
    every Lent. Gloria

    Lenten Quiet Weekend Suggestions

    +Consciously look for beauty in nature every day and thank God.
    +Be conscious of negative thoughts; they make prayer and love difficult.
    +Show and express appreciation to others every day.
    +Flow with conflict and accept suffering as a path to change.
    +Forgive others each day and let go of grudges.
    +Share frustrations with a friend.
    +Avoid worry and trust God.
    +Put the past to rest. Be present to the here and now.
    +Say the Lord’s Prayer to remember God’s will in preference to your
    +Remember God is always present.
    +Look for ways to serve others throughout the day.
    +Be interested in and care about people regardless of your past history
    with them.
    +Remember you can only love what you can appreciate.
    +When you experience disappointment, think positively.
    +Listen to the Spirit and ask God to let grace lead you to what God
    wants you to do.
    +Remember all things that happen are for your growth.
    +Trust in God to guide your life.
    + Make an effort to think with your heart as well as your head.
    +Slow down – remember to pray and read.

    Fr. Jim Calderella
    St. Joseph By the Sea
    March 11, 2001


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