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More Positive Lenten Practices

Director’s Reflection

Dear Companions on the Journey,

Ash Wednesday is on the near horizon, marking the beginning of the Church’s season of Lent.  Old-time Catholics will remember a time when giving up candy was a typical Lenten practice, a self-induced deprivation to discipline oneself during this season of penance.  Recent years have suggested more positive practices, How about these?

  1. Make a commitment to read the Sunday readings before you go to Mass. A way of experiencing Sunday worship more deeply.
  2. Use a daily reflection book (get one at the Center Chapel entrance) to center yourself and guide yourself during the 40 Days of Lent.
  3. Online daily reflections from Jesuit Creighton University:<>
  4. Join us at the Paulist Center for Taizé Prayer, Tuesdays, 7pm
  5. We can see the portrait of our soul through the lens of our wallet: think about what you usually spend your money on.Clothes? Lattés? Dinner out? Pick one type of expenditure that you’ll “fast” from during Lent and then give the money you would usually spend to a local charity.
  6. Or bigger: where do you spend your timeThe average American spends about 4½ hours/day on their smart phone.Why not take something on – 40 days of letter writing, 40 acts of kindness, 40 phone calls to the important people in your life?
  7. If you don’t have a crucifix in your room, buy a simple one and put it in your bedroom.
  8. Read the entire Gospel of Mark <> in one sitting.As the shortest Gospel, it is the most concise story of Jesus’ life, and the Cross plays an even more prominent role than in the other Gospels.
  9. Our Young Adult Ministry is going to lead the community in the Stations of the Cross on Friday, 10 April, 7pm  (, if you don’t know!).
  10. Consider a habit that has kept you from being who God is calling to be.  Consciously give up that habit for Lent.
  11. Spend at least one weekend or evening volunteering that benefits the poor.
  12. Make a commitment to fast from insensitive, cruel comments about others. So, no gossiping or going down the Twitter rabbit hole.
  13. As part of your Lenten almsgiving, make a point to learn more about a particular social issue (immigration, abortion, human trafficking, racism, the environment, public education, child poverty, housing, prison reform, hunger, pornography).  Give money to an organization related to your chosen issue that supports the dignity of the human person.
  14. Pray for someone by name.  Be mindful of Philo of Alexandria’s wise words: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

(Most of the above I shamelessly stole from Paulist Fathers’ online ministry Busted Halo).

What do you think?
And let us pray for one another,
Michael McGarry, C.S.P.