When I was a child, the six weeks of Lent seemed so very long. Growing up in a family and going to a Catholic school where Lent meant giving up the things one really liked was totally common and a given.
I still think it is important to consciously sacrifice or give up something, because doing so leaves more room for God and God-like things. Now that I am older, even the time of Lent goes by quickly, no matter that according to the Church calendar Lent is still six weeks long!
However, now my experience of Lent has gone through a metamorphosis. By now, we have all probably heard the “fast from” and “feast on” approach to Lent: fast from a bad habit and feast on loving one’s neighbor more, fast from eating candy and feast on getting out there and doing volunteer work, and so forth.
Thinking about Lent this year,
- I hope to express Love to those who are hurting and in need in ways that might be challenging for me.
- I hope to Enjoy the gifts God has given me and to see the good that is in the world and in my personal life.
- I hope to Nurture the Spirit within me and others, listening to the Spirit’s lead as the days unfold.
- I hope to be open to the Transforming power of God’s love.
Ash Wednesday marks a new spiritual beginning. It is a time to step back and reflect on what is really important. It is a time to think and live according to the reality that “less is more.”
May this Lent be an experience of a “new springtime,” a time of renewal. May we grow in our love, enjoy the gifts we have, nurture the Spirit within, and accept the transformation that will be ours.
God, you are the source of all goodness. Help us to focus on the power of love and our need to be connected to you as our source of life and love. Help us to be your hands, your eyes, your feet, and your heart this Lent so that others may know you. Help us to remember our origin is in you, and to you we shall return. Bless us on our Lenten journey. Amen.
I like the “fast from” “feast on” approach. I teach RE to 2nd graders and we’re going to have an Easter Basket for Jesus (we had a stocking for Him at Christmas). We’re going to do a loving action throughout Lent such as “telling Mom she made a good meal,” “talking with the kid at school who is always left out,” “holding the door for the person behind you,” “play a game with your younger brother/sister,” etc. At the end of class I have them pick a plastic egg with a loving action inside for them to try and do during the week in addition to what they put in Jesus’ Easter basket. It really works well. Last year the Pope announced the “Year of Mercy” and Mercy is another word for kindness so my class is doing acts of kindness.
Thank you for this idea. I really like this. I will try it in our 3rd grade class.