Have you been lax in your spiritual life? Has your faith become nothing more than a weekly ritual of attending Mass and nothing else? The season of Lent is a time to change all that. Lent is a perfect time to do a little spring cleaning of your soul so that you can get back on track with having a solid relationship with God the Father. In fact, Lent derives it mean from the Old English word for spring.
During Lent, we are called to go out into the desert and evaluate our spiritual life. What we find may not be easy however the church has intentionally set this period of 40 days aside so that we can give our spiritual life the necessary boost it needs. As we prepare for the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are reminded that we are to suffer in a lesser degree than He did. This reminder all comes with a bit of hope. Jesus gained entry for us into eternal bliss. Whether we take advantage of that is solely based on how we live our lives.
Prayer is the number one way to quickly get your spiritual life back on track. There are some ways to do this, but the most important way is to simply just do it! Fifteen minutes a day is all it takes to become closer to God. In case you are doing the math, that is an entire 1% of your day.
Find a quiet spot to sit and reflect. Prayer in its basic form is talking to God. He wants this relationship with YOU. We simply have to initiate it. This idea may be a hard one to grasp. However, the reality is that God seeks a one on one relationship with each and every one of us.
To accomplish this, we have a few options. Simply sitting down and opening a dialogue with your Creator is one such way. It may feel awkward at first, but over time it will become second nature. You will find that God speaks back. Perhaps not as a booming voice from heaven, though that has happened at times, but rather a small quiet voice in your heart. As time goes by you will recognize that voice and relish your time with Him.
Jesus told us in Scripture that whatever ever we do for the least we do for Him. Almsgiving is an outlet to achieve this. We can accomplish this through numerous ways. Monetary donations are one quick way. Pick a favorite charity and commit to recurring donations. This may sound difficult. Take the time this Lent to do an assessment of your spending habits. Do you need that Starbuck’s coffee every morning? Is the latest and greatest gadget that much better than what you already have? Small sacrifices for us equal huge gains for the poor.
Don’t forget that you can also give freely of your time. Try volunteering at a local soup kitchen. Perhaps your church is looking for help with a program. Prison ministry is also an excellent way to selflessly give of one’s time. The possibilities are endless.
One of the oldest and most time-honored Lenten traditions is the Stations of the Cross. Walking “the way” with Christ is a great way to focus one’s thoughts on the sacrifices Jesus made for us. There are also some other prayers that allow one to meditate on Christ’s Passion, the Prayer Before a Crucifix, a Prayer to the Shoulder Wound of Christ, the Stabat Mater, or this Three O’Clock Prayer allow us to memorialize and thank Jesus for what he did for us.
The important thing is to do during Lent is to keep God first in your heart and mind in your Lenten prayers and other devotions. In this way, Lent will become a time for transformation as well as preparation.
May we all emerge from Lent, as St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “transformed in the newness of your mind, that you might discern what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom 12:2).