On Tuesday, Mardi Gras day, I sat and wondered what I would give up for Lent this year.
Often I like to make my Lenten penances somewhat of a self-improvement thing. To sort of knock out two birds with one stone – I become a better person in some way that I know I need improvement in and I offer up the penance to Jesus. Last year was my big effort to give up flour and sugar which worked well for me. I know that one of the main reasons that I was successful was that I had made a promise to our Lord that I wouldn’t have any for all of Lent (and yes, last year it included Sunday’s). I felt like I was in bondage to flour and sugar so the best way I knew to remove their control over me was to abstain from eating them for over a month – the time needed to break any bad habit.
This year I thought a lot about giving up cream or artificial sweeteners in my coffee – the artificial sweeteners have crept back in the last month or more. This seems like a noble penance for anyone who know just how much I LOVE my jazzed up coffee in the mornings.
****As a side note, I’ve also begun and very addictive habit of having an espresso first thing in the morning – YUM****
After a good bit of reflection however, I’ve decided that this year’s Lenten penance is going to be about what all Lenten penances really should be about. I’m going to add more prayer into my daily routine. I’ve done this in year’s past, though I tend to miss the mark sometimes, since one of the most important points of the penance is to bring you closer to the Lord. Penance should bring Him consolation as well as taking us closer to Him through repentance of our sins and the cleansing of our souls. At least, that’s my understanding of it.
In order for you all to keep me accountable this Lenten season I’m going to list out the things I’m promising to do:
- Pray a decade of the rosary every day.
- Read the Gospel (from Mass) or another scripture reading each day and reflect on it for 5 minutes.
- Go to Confession
I’m going to be honest here, I haven’t been to confession in a while. It really is a little sad that I’ve waited to go so long. I feel better, lighter even, after going to confession. This sacrament really is under utilized by most Catholics, especially me! Even though it’s the last thing on my list I know know it’s important and I’m definitely planning to get there next week. This week is just a little too busy. But I’m counting on you all to keep me accountable – especially on this item.
Please comment below and let me know what you’re planning to give up or add for Lent this year. I look forward to reading your responses!