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Live Lent: Things NOT TO DO

On each Monday in February, we will share some thoughts from Sr. Terry
about preparing for and really experiencing Lent,
which begins with Ash Wednesday on February 26.

Last week, we reviewed things to do—positive actions to take to make the most of your Lenten journey. And now, things not to do:
Don’t give up. Instead of giving up something for Lent, try doing something that will bring you closer to God. Perhaps attend Mass during the week, spend time reflecting on the daily or Sunday readings by yourself and with others by using this book, experience the beauty of God’s creation by taking walks, make donations to your favorite charities, volunteer at the local food bank, light candles and say prayers for the people you know who are struggling. If you still decide to give something up, do it for someone else. For example, if you give up wine for Lent, each time you decline to take wine, pray for someone who struggles with an addiction to alcohol.
Don’t sweat it. Whatever it is you commit to do this Lent, the point isn’t to do it perfectly. Give it your best, but if you slip up, accept that as a reminder that you are not perfect. Only God is perfect. Say a prayer, and start again.
Don’t starve yourself. Lent isn’t about going on a diet or losing weight—it’s about the conversion of hearts. Eat healthy, get some exercise, but don’t succumb to our culture’s obsession with physical appearances. Again, if you want to give up sweets, do it while praying for someone who is seriously overweight.
Don’t make it more difficult than it is. The three pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Find simple ways to pray, fast, and give to those who live in poverty.
Don’t hold back. Lent will present you with many opportunities to convert your heart and your life, to heal broken relationships, and to grow closer to God. When you find yourself presented with such an opportunity, embrace it.
So this Lent don’t give up, don’t sweat it, don’t starve yourself, don’t make it more difficult than it is, and, most especially, don’t hold back! Live Lent! so you can live a more authentic faith long after these 40 days have passed.

Excerpt from the Introduction to Live Lent! Year A
by Sr. Theresa Rickard, OP, President of RENEW International,
© 2019 RENEW International

Live Lent! contains daily meditations and weekly small-group faith-sharing sessions beginning on Ash Wednesday. It includes prayers, reflections on Old and New Testament readings, questions with journaling space, and action prompts to help us Live Lent! in our daily lives. Learn more and order Live Lent! at Use Promo Code TRLENT20 to save 25% on your order of Live Lent! or any of RENEW’s Lenten resources.
Please share this with anyone who might be interested in making the most of this season of preparation, renewal, and transformation. Don’t just observe Lent—live it!
Sr. Terry Rickard is a Dominican Sister of Blauvelt, NY and President of RENEW International.

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