Lent is probably my favorite liturgical season. I love the holiday of Christmas a bunch, but if I’m talking seasons as a whole, Lent takes the cake. There’s just something about it that gives me an even bigger urge to “reset” than a new year. On top of that, the Easter Triduum is so powerful and beautiful, I look forward to it every single year.
For my non-Catholic friends out there, I really love what is written as an “Intro to Lent” in my Every Sacred Sunday journal:
“Lent is a penitential period, characterized by fasting, penance, and the confirmation of sin. As Jesus was tempted in the desert, we also use this time to strip ourselves of vices and work towards building virtue.
Lent encompasses 40 days of penance in preparation for Easter, mirroring the 40 days of Jesus in the desert.”
As I write this, it is 11PM on the tail end of Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. For the first time in a long time, I was able to really sit and pray during Mass. Juggling two kids at church is no easy feat, so Donald and I decided that for today, we would go to Mass separately. While I always want to attend Mass with my family, being able to truly reflect on the readings and pay attention to the homily was amazing.
One of my favorite things the priest said today was that Lent is about focusing on the need for change, to move, for growth. In giving alms and fasting, we are essentially giving up a part of ourselves so that others may gain. We give everything to Jesus because by Jesus we are free. The ashes we are given represent our sins, but at the end of the day we wash them away with soap and water, just as Jesus washes away our sins.
I spent most of my day today folding laundry and really thinking about what I wanted to do for Lent this year, which made me reminisce what I have done in the past. It went way back to my younger years when I gave up the easy stuff like chocolate or ice cream. One year I gave up the color purple, I mean who does that? I remember giving up rice, wearing make up, painting my nails, Starbucks. Last year, I gave up all beverages except water.
This year, I’ve decided to stop online shopping/ online window shopping. Online window shopping being mindlessly scrolling through a website like Colourpop or Lights Lacquer and looking at all the random merchandise. Adding random things to my cart to see how much it would cost even though I know I can’t afford it. I realized this was a problem for me when I was saw a post on Instagram for a random product and immediately wanted to go to the website to look at it and all the other products they had to offer. It made me feel kinda weird in a greedy way, so I definitely want to stop doing that. And, for a more obvious reason, I have no money, lol.
One of the reasons I think Lent is better than the New Year as a reset button is simple. They say for a habit to stick, you have to do it consistently for 30 days in a row. Well, Lent is 40 days, so. Yeah. I would really like to be healthy, so I’m going to cut out fast food and try to eat a salad every day. I’m also going to eat fruit more because we always buy apples and bananas but they always go bad before we eat them.
It wasn’t until my junior or senior year of high school that I started to add something good in place of what I took out. It started with an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be before bed. Then, a whole decade a day. I began to intentionally journal every day, dedicating each day of prayer to a different person. While I believe cutting out bad habits from your life is great and beneficial in the long run, it’s in adding the good that makes me feel like a whole new person. A better person.
I have been feeling kind of disconnected with a lot of people I would like to call my friends. I don’t mean to, it just kind of happened. I’ve become progressively worse at texting people back or reaching out first, and honestly I hate using “taking care of Zeke and Theo” as an excuse. Yes, they are my whole life and spending all day, every day, with them is an absolute joy, that shouldn’t stop me from reaching out to the people who keep me grounded. That being said, I want to channel my inner Lara Jean and hand write not-love letters (I only have one true love, ok), but affirmation letters to a different person every day. I think that will be fun.
I’ve spent so long being hit with change after change that I’ve truly neglected my spiritual life. This Lenten season, I hope to “reset” and focus on the change that needs to happen to bring me closer to Jesus.
I’ve you’ve made it to the end of this post, thank you for reading my heart. If you want some company on your Lenten journey, feel free to hit me up so that we can all keep each other accountable.
With all the love,
P.S. I haven’t been able to properly fast since 2016 because I’ve either been pregnant or breastfeeding during Lent each year. That’s so wild.