Lent in days gone by was about denial and giving up something you liked, only to binge on it come Easter Sunday. I remember well trying to get through a whole jar of sweets that I had been saving up for 40 days.
Nowadays we are encouraged to do something more meaningful, ‘We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up.’ (Romans 15:1–2)
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday which this year is 22nd February. So, if you are short of ideas for the weeks ahead, here are a few suggestions,
1. Drop a small card to a ‘hidden hero’, just to let them know they are noticed.
2. Show up with a cup of coffee, cold drink or treat to someone.
3. Maintain silence in the car and say a silent prayer for those people affected by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria
4. Don’t walk by the church. Go in a light a candle for someone you know.
5. Do one thing each day that you don’t want to do, for the sake of another: (put out a neighbour’s bin, wash the dishes, help a friend even if it’s inconvenient!).
6. Think of 40 people and offer one day of Lent for each person. Be sure to send them a message to let them know.
7. Get up within one minute of your alarm going off.
8. Give up the money you would normally spend at coffee shops during Lent and donate it to a charity.
9. Give up alcohol, sweets etc and put that money in the Trocaire Box. Pick one up from the back of the Cathedral.
10. Read the Gospel for the day, choose one word that strikes you, write it down and tape it above your desk or on your fridge.
11. Give food to a local charity for people who are finding it hard to cope.
12. Stop and talk to a homeless person, you may be the only person who says a kind word to them today.
13. Fast on Wednesdays or Fridays.
14. Sit with your family at the table for an hour.
15. Avoid unnecessary purchases. Donate what you save.
16. Start a gratitude journal – each day, write what you are grateful for.
17. Park in the farthest parking spot away from where you are going. Offer your long walk as a sacrifice.
18. Arrive 15 minutes early for mass each Sunday and pray.
19. Go to confession.
20. Pray the Rosary each night, with your friends or family if possible.