So, how’s Lent been going for you? Are you a fasting, abstaining, self-disciplined tower of power?
Not so much? How about a nibbling, indulging, undisciplined pile of jelly?
Not that, either? You’re not alone. Most of us fall somewhere in between. No matter where you are on the Lenten spectrum, there’s nothing like sharpening your focus to add an extra measure of meaning to your experience as Holy Week rolls around.
Here are five ideas—in no particular order—on how to make the most of the time before Easter arrives.
1) Make good on your original promises.
We all—well, maybe not you, but a lot of us—as mentioned above, don’t follow-through all the way on our Lenten goals. So, as Lent draws to a close, try being really dedicated to what you set out to do in the first place. Pray that daily rosary. Read that chapter of Scripture before falling asleep. Whatever you haven’t been wholly faithful to along the way, give it your all during the home stretch toward Easter Sunday.
2) Get into the Stations of the Cross.
If you haven’t had an opportunity to pray the Stations of the Cross yet this Lent, now is the perfect time, since the Stations are all about Christ’s passion. Just don’t over-promise. Do as much as you know you can do sincerely. As we head into Holy Week, take just one Station a day, your choice, and really focus on it. Pray a meditation, just as if you were at a Stations service (catholic.org offers some great ones online), and then take a little time to put yourself into that scene and really absorb what Jesus was doing for us at that moment.
3) Attend a Chrism Mass.
At some point during Holy Week, your bishop or archbishop will be celebrating the annual Chrism Mass at which sacramental oils used throughout your diocese or archdiocese are consecrated. Find out when it is and see if you can arrange your schedule so you can be there. Participating in this Mass is an excellent opportunity to offer prayer and sacrifice on behalf of everyone who will benefit from those oils—newborn babies, newly minted Christians, Confirmation candidates, freshly ordained priests, the sick, the dying and more.
4) Make a big deal about Holy Thursday.
This is easy and it can mean so very much to the priests in your life. Holy Thursday is the day we celebrate the beginning of the priesthood. Do something to congratulate your priest friends on this very special anniversary. You’ll be acknowledging the sacrifices they make for us and commemorating a very special moment Jesus made happen on the road to Easter Sunday. No need to be elaborate. Simple is better. Consider devoting a holy hour to a special priest and dropping him a note that you’re offering that hour in gratitude for his priesthood.
5) Spend some quality time with Blessed Mother.
Every moment of Jesus’s suffering brought into vivid reality what until then had been only the prediction of an old man in the back of Mary’s mind. At this time of year, we remember the days during which the prophecy Mary and Joseph heard at The Presentation came true…the prophecy in which Simeon promised that Mary’s heart would be pierced. A slow and sincere round of all the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary during the final days of Lent, with a focus on supporting Blessed Mother through the ordeal, will bring the meaning of Lent home in a big way.
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