about preparing for and really experiencing Lent,
which begins with Ash Wednesday on February 26.
For me, the Lenten season has always been a time to refocus on God and get my life in right order. I want to Live Lent! so I can live faith with greater integrity and in deeper communion with God and my neighbor. As a child I thought Lent was about giving up things like candy and fighting with my sister, Mary. I have come to realize that it is not so much about giving up things but about seizing the opportunity to be all that God has called me to be—a holy, healthy, and loving person—a disciple of Jesus Christ committed to transforming my faith into real-life action.
So, let me suggest not ways to fast but things to do and things not to do this Lent.
First, things to do:
Consciously surrender to God. Whenever we say the Lord’s Prayer we ask that God’s will be done on earth. And Lent reminds us that leading a Christian life means setting aside our will—our desires and wishes and priorities—and asking God to help us behave only according to God’s will.
Let go of old self-images. Imitating Jesus, who died on the cross, is to empty ourselves of ego and see ourselves as who we really are— creatures totally dependent on our Creator, but also living reflections of God’s love and compassion. We are flawed and fabulous, and we need to let go of denigrating ourselves and old tapes that tell us that we are not good enough or smart enough or attractive enough. Lent is a time to see ourselves clearly—as Father Richard Rohr’s says, to find our true selves, our God selves, our Christ selves.
Focus on engendering life from within. No matter what we own or what we lack in the way of material possessions or wealth, our greatest gifts to each other, to the world at large, will always come from within us. Be conscious of the Holy Spirit encouraging your powers of love, compassion, and justice; realize the potential in these gifts; find ways to use these gifts to bless the lives of others in large ways and small.
Ask for the grace of transformation. Pray each day that you will emerge from this Lenten experience as a new person. Leave the details of your renewal up to God, and thank God for this grace.
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 www.renewintl.org/livelent. 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.