Giving up chocolate may not cut it.
As CatholicMatch members prepare for Lent, many are reporting a more mature approach to the liturgical season centered on the disciplines of fasting, almsgiving and prayer. It’s an important chance to grow as a Catholic – and become better prepared for the future spouse God has in store for you.
“Lent for me used to be a time of giving up something,” Tom-32153 said. “As faith matures, I think Lent can be a time of embarking on improving ourselves, taking time to put renewed energy into improving our talents, taking care of ourselves better through diet or exercise – whatever area in life we perceive as a weakness. I think for me I will work on giving up on being totally self-reliant and coming to grips that God is Providence, and He has a plan.”
Eliza-405024 said she’s been through a similar paradigm shift. “I used to give up food for Lent but not anymore. I now pray more and do the Stations of the Cross every Wednesday and Friday during Lent.”
Deanna-558852 echoed that sentiment. She’s hoping to move beyond the joking and grousing this March. “Like Tom, the Lenten season used to be about giving something up and how difficult that was or how lousy I was for giving in and having whatever I gave up,” she said, “but as I’ve matured I, too, have focused more on how I can be better as a person on my faith journey. I regularly attend Stations of the Cross during this season, which happens to be my favorite devotion.”
And Deanna’s got a special aid for this Lent’s Stations: a gift from a friend. “This year I have the Stations from Mary’s perspective, which a friend brought back to me from Medjugorje,” she said. The book is called Mary’s Way of the Cross and is written by Richard Furey. “The stations help me to focus on His great sacrifice for me,” Deanna said. “His sacrifice and service for me encourage and support my sacrifice and service to others.”
Ted-548403 has a specific goal for Lent, based on the same approach Deanna’s taking. “Usually each Lent, there are some favorite indulgences of mine that I give up, along with some type of fasting, on Wednesdays and Fridays,” he said. “However, recently it seems the Holy Spirit has given me an increased sensitivity to, you might say, ‘the words people speak and how they hurt others.’ I’ve simply noticed a tension when people speak either directly to another person, or about another person, negatively, behind their back. I get the sense from the Lord He would have me ‘fast’ from negative speech, judgemental thinking, gossip, even excessive talk.”
Reflecting on James 3:5-6 has inspired Ted. “I think given some of the conversations I have heard lately, the hurt inflicted by others, and myself, either in the word spoken or written, that this is an area where I need to shore up and improve.”