Lent Feels a Little Different This Year
The year 2020 was difficult for everyone, and because of the pandemic, we gave up so much: seeing loved ones and friends, events like weddings and funerals, and even being able to attend Mass and receive Holy Communion. With lockdowns still happening in many areas, the idea of giving something up for Lent this year doesn’t feel right.
For many of us, the usual Lenten sacrifice involves giving up treats and junk food, or even social media or a favourite TV show. We tend to give up the vices we know we should participate in sparingly. But, the Lenten season isn’t just about giving up, it is also about giving alms and praying more.
Giving alms doesn’t just have to be donations to your Parish, though those are important and so very needed right now. It can be financial support to other charities or giving someone the gift of your time. Help neighbours shovel their driveways free of charge, or donate each week to your local foodbank.
Like many others, my family has decided that we have already given up too much over the last twelve months, and giving up chocolate or takeout won’t have the right weight on our hearts that it should. So instead of shortening that video game session or skipping dessert, we are adding something to our day. Additional prayers like a daily rosary, scripture readings every night before bed, and reading religious books individually and as a family.
If you are new to adding something to your day for Lent, start small with a short prayer each morning, or simply read the daily readings. If you already have those wonderful habits in place, try adding a new religious book, or reading through part of the Bible.
Another thing you could do for Lent is attend a Catholic virtual event. The annual Dynamic Women of Faith Conference is going to be held this year (its 12th year!) virtually. Last year the conference had to be switched to virtual at the last minute, but it was a smashing success. I have personally attended this event for nearly a decade, and in person or virtually, it is an incredibly inspiring day.
Another amazing virtual Catholic event is to find a Mothers Group that is hosting a virtual meeting or praying the rosary together. Many of our beloved Mothers Groups have gone virtual over the last twelve months, and it is such a blessing. The leaders have been working tirelessly to host these meetups so that we can still have that prayer time and time to bond. If you haven’t had a chance to attend one yet, Lent is a perfect time to start! I hosted a group for over 3 years, and the women I met through that group and through the conference are still some of my closest friends and most cherished prayer warriors.
If your heart can’t imagine having to give up something else right now, try bringing yourself closer to Jesus in another way, and please remember to try and grant yourself a little grace this Lenten season.