Preparing for Lent

“We are called not just to abstain from sin during Lent, but to true conversion of our hearts and minds as followers of Christ. We recall those waters in which we were baptized into Christ’s death, died to sin and evil, and began new life in Christ.”US Conference of Catholic Bishops

One of the first things I learned about Lent is that it’s not necessarily about giving something up. That’s relatively easy: We vow to abstain from alcohol. Or cookies. We won’t use profanity. While these are admirable goals (but… cookies…), Lent can, and should, be about doing more.

When I started my journey, I absorbed anything and everything I could get my hands on. I won’t say I’ve been slacking off (not directly), but I’ll admit my studies aren’t what they once were. But Lent is an ideal time to get back into gear, to live out that new life in Christ he blessed me with. Thus, I mapped out a weekly “God schedule” for Lent, in which I do something for Him each day—whether it’s study, worship, or simply being in His presence.

Sunday – Mass (clearly)
Monday – RCIA (or Bible study, if there’s no class)
Tuesday – Readings on the saints
Wednesday – Adoration
Thursday – Visio divina study
Friday – Daily Mass
Saturday – Public declaration – i.e., update this blog

Each day will also consist of Bible reading (I will get through the apocrypha!) and prayer time with the little black book for Lent. During the week, I’ll learn more of Jesus and his devoted. I’ll read of the saints (finally getting to those writings of St. Augustine I bought months ago). I’ll study Mary. And at the end of the week, on Saturday, I’ll tie it all together. I’ll share it with you. Because it’s great to learn, but it’s more important to spread that knowledge.

That “public declaration” isn’t simply online, either. It’s talking with others. It’s (finally) telling my family of this journey I’ve been taking. If there’s opportunity to volunteer, and to help others, it’s taking it. So often I get stuck in this rut of “I don’t know what I’m doing,” but I don’t have to understand two thousand years of Catholic teachings. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel,” Jesus said (Mark 16:15).

And, fine, maybe I’ll cut back on the cookies as well.