Keeping a Holy Lent
(Below are some thoughts Mother Lorna Erixson shared with St. Christopher's Daughters of the King February 14 concerning keeping a holy, mindful, and intentional Lent.)
How will we use these forty days? What do we want to "achieve"? Lent is a time of awareness (mindfulness) and a time of joy. There is much we can do.
Confession: Penance seems to have fallen out of favor, but Shrove Tuesday reminds us that our church makes provision for private confession, or the sacrament of reconciliation. As the saying goes, "all can, some should, none must." Think about how the past year went for you. If you feel stuck, confession can serve as a "reset" button.
Fasting, almsgiving, and prayer: The practices of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer were central to ancient Jewish life, and are central to ours. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are especially suitable for fasting. Fasting takes us out of our routine, and reminds us that others need food and shelter. The vast majority of people seeking help truly need it, so consider giving to a food bank. Focused prayer also should be a part of our Lent. Focused prayer (like meditation or contemplation) may include the Daily Office (morning or evening prayer, etc.) which can be found in our prayer book, or online at https://dailyoffice.wordpress.com. Study God's word, or some other book to do some good for your spirit or soul. Practice mindfulness -- an awareness of God's presence in our lives.
Rejoicing: Rejoice in what God has given us, and pass it along. Each of us can do something to spread joy: write a letter to an old friend, take flowers to a nursing home, crochet a gift for someone, or find some other way to do good works. It's all about God's grace; we are abundantly loved.