Lent is right around the cor – hmm…I guess it’s here.
I’m not ready. My prayer life is struggling, and the idea that I need to make a forty day plan for myself is giving me hives. It’s daunting. Between new bouts of covid isolation keeping me from in person masses and spiritual gatherings and my continuing struggles to come to terms with the sudden death of my priest this past fall, I have been having difficulties in focusing on my prayer life. I read constantly. I finally resumed listening to podcasts this morning while I was setting up my medication. My daughter has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow so my plans for 9am Mass to receive my ashes will need to be adjusted. I made three phone calls yesterday and mailed a letter. I’m not sure what this has to do with Lent or prayer or anything other than keeping the chronic depression at bay.
I’m still at ‘what do I give up‘ part of the process and I just don’t know. With mask mandates ending and war in Ukraine, the giving up decision of my Lent feels superficial and not at all relevant.
Should I stop drinking soda? Watching TV? Starbucks? Giving up the internet for a couple of hours a day? (Heaven forfend!) Cheese? Chocolate? Cigarettes? Alright, that one would be cheating; I don’t smoke. Can I give up being judgmental for forty days? I’m not sure I can manage forty minutes.
What is a worthy of sacrifice that doesn’t strike me as trite or worn out?
However, there are some things that I have worked out: a weekly Scripture series through March, a weekend retreat, reading, and art journaling with the use of a Lenten Labyrinth (pictured below).
Beginning tomorrow, I will read Learning to Pray by Father James Martin, and Life is Messy by Matthew Kelly and a daily devotional: Daily Reflections for Lent: Not by Bread Alone 2022 by Amy Ekah and Thomas Stegman. I’m sure there will be more reading as the days go by, but these three are on my goals list.
I will pray the rosary at least weekly.
I will make one pilgrimage, although I’m not sure to where yet.
I will work diligently on my Labyrinth Prayer Book.
I will attend Sunday Mass on Facebook and commit to attending one daily mass in person during the week.
I will keep up with my labyrinth in the art journal. It is similar to the spiral journals I shared a few years ago after my trip to Wales. I plan on looking at it daily and trying to draw or write something relevant. I have enough copies for a new labyrinth each week.
I also have included a downloadable clean copy on my home page for anyone interested in journaling through Lent. (Sorry about some of the crooked lines.)
I think the most important thing I can impart to readers and to myself is to be easy on ourselves. Focus on the three Lenten principles: prayer, fasting, almsgiving.