Entering into Kalema: How We Can Make the Most of the Sacred Season of Lent
How might we make the most of this solemn, sacred season? There are three main aspects to Lent in which the Church asks us to engage — prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We don’t need to take on many things in order to make this season worthwhile, but it is important to consider how we might deepen our faith lives during this time of year.
Perhaps we might be inspired to take each aspect of Lent to heart, and pick something we can do within each category, so to speak, in order to truly enter into this sacred season. Each one — prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, provides us an opportunity to grow spiritually and prepare for Easter.
Let us start with prayer. In order to grow our personal and communal prayer lives, we need not spend the entire day in the chapel. Rather, perhaps consider adding one new devotion to your prayer life.
For example, if you aren’t already spending time each day in prayer, maybe it’s time to start spending five or ten minutes each morning with the Lord while enjoying your breakfast and coffee. If you usually start your day by opening your computer and phone to check messages and emails, start instead with a morning prayer or Scripture, offering your day up for the Lord and whatever may come. If you already have a regular prayer routine, perhaps you might consider adding a daily Divine Mercy chaplet at 3 p.m. during the hour of mercy, or a family Rosary after dinner cleanup.
While we often think of food when it comes to fasting, there are other ways we can fast during Lent as well. Fasting means abstaining from something in order to grow spiritually. This could mean giving up Social Media time or cutting down on screen time. Perhaps you might consider fasting from watching your favorite TV series and instead watch daily Mass. Another idea of fasting is giving up takeout or delivery and instead using that extra money to give to the poor.
Giving alms may be the less obvious of the three but is no less important for growing spiritually. Giving alms can mean a number of things. Perhaps this means giving a bit of extra money to charity during these 40 days. It might also mean visiting with a grieving friend, listening, and helping out those in need. You might also consider stepping out and helping in a new capacity, whether in a new ministry or volunteer effort.
Lent affords us a wonderful opportunity to renew our spiritual lives. While it may not always seem so easy, it is necessary to use this time to prepare our hearts and lives for Easter. We might be tempted to simply look ahead to the joy of Easter without considering the sacrifice of Lent, but in that way, we would be missing out on the chance to grow, learn, give, and pray. We cannot have the Resurrection without the Cross. Lent is a reminder not to be filled with sadness and dread over our sacrifices, but to take up practices that help us engage in our spiritual lives, purify ourselves with God’s help and rejoice when Easter comes around.