Five Individual Lenten Practices
By Catholic Digest Staff
1. Read the Bible daily.
Make time every day to read a passage from Scripture. By daily immersing yourself in the stories and lessons of Scripture, you will better prepare yourself for Easter. If you go to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website, you can find a calendar that provides each day’s Mass readings: USCCB.org/Calendar/. You might consider reading through one of the Gospels in one sitting in order to better understand the continuity of Jesus’ life and death. The Gospel of Mark, the shortest Gospel, is often recommended for Lenten reading if you are new to Bible reading. Bible scholars see Mark’s Gospel as being most closely associated to St. Peter’s preaching of the words and deeds of Jesus, as Mark was a disciple of Peter. You can also subscribe to a daily missal publication such as Living with Christ (LivingWithChrist.us).
2. Use a daily devotional.
A daily devotional serves as a great way to reflect about your faith and its importance and influence in your daily life. Devotionals are tools for meditation and an opportunity for you to learn ways you can act out your faith. Catholic Digest recommends Living Faith: Daily Catholic Devotions (LivingFaith.com), a quarterly booklet of daily reflections on one of the Scripture readings from the day’s Mass.
3. Attend Mass.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but especially in this penitential season, it is key to attend Mass each Sunday. Furthermore, you should familiarize yourself with the day’s Scripture readings before you go. That way you’ll be able to reflect more deeply on the ideas and themes explored in the homily and stay consistent in your habit of daily spiritual reading. You might also want to attend one weekday Mass a week. These daily Masses tend to be more intimate (fewer people attend them) and can provide you with a spiritual outlet you may never have experienced before.
4. Become involved.
As part of your almsgiving, become more informed on a certain social issue, such as immigration, racism, human trafficking, or poverty. Find out how you can get involved with a charity or social services agency. Donations, volunteering, or contacting an elected official are just a few ways you can make a difference in your community.
5. Cut out harmful habits; start good ones.
Start a list of things you might want to cut out or reduce in your life. Take time to reflect on these and set some personal goals. Maybe it’s an unhealthy habit such as smoking or overeating. Perhaps there are things around the house that need doing that keep getting pushed back. Lent is not only a time to grow spiritually — it’s also a great opportunity to work on developing good habits.