Bp. Paul Hewett’s Ideas for Lent

“The arena of the virtues has been thrown open.”

Things to give up…

Fasting – reducing the quantity of food, by having only one full meal during the day, possibly with no seconds, no alcohol and no dessert.

Abstinence – reducing the quality of food, by eating more simply, perhaps by not eating meat. For some people a good rule of abstinence would be to give up television for the day.

Notes about fasting and abstinence:
ordinary Fridays are days of abstinence. Every day in Lent is a day of fasting (except Sundays), and Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent are days of fasting and abstinence, with special emphasis on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Sundays, since they commemorate the Resurrection, are never days of fasting or abstinence. Those who are very young, very old, or infirm, or who are involved in strenuous manual labor, should not attempt to fast, or can fast from things other than food.

Giving up one thing, such as sweets, smoking, reading magazines, or watching television. Spend less time on line or surfing the web Work some more on giving up your besetting sin(s) and cultivating its opposite virtue. For example, give up complaining and cultivate thanking God and others.

Things to add…

(one or perhaps two. Don´t attempt too much; do what is realistic and practical)

•   Use the money saved from fasting and abstinence for your mite box offering, or to put in the plate on Sunday, or to give to a charity.
•   Read a chapter of the Bible every day
•   Read a book on prayer or the life of a saint
•   Say 5 decades of the Rosary every day
•   Say the Jesus Prayer 100 times on a prayer rope or Rosary. The Rosary and the Jesus Prayer can be offered while in the car. The bumps on the back of the steering wheel can be used as a Rosary or Prayer Rope.
•   Make a list of people and/or causes to pray for and use this every day; pray daily through the parish’s intercession list (copies are on the back table). Or, be especially in prayer every day for one person.
•   Spend three, or five, minutes a day in thanksgiving. Finish Lent with a list of the many blessings you enjoy. You will get ideas from the PB, pp. 33, 48, 50-53, 83, 591 and the Psalms.
•   Say Psalm 63 while washing up in the morning
• Clean some disorganized part of your home, car, garage, cellar, etc. or begin a task that has been delayed by procrastination.
• Answer overdue mail
•   When inclined to criticize someone, compliment or praise them instead.
•   To do any of the above, get up 10 or 15 or more minutes earlier in the morning.
•   Really observe Sunday as the Lord’s Day by going to Mass and (to the greatest extent possible) do your
chores on Saturday.
•   Go to Stations of the Cross or do the Stations at home
•   Read at home, or attend at Church, one or more of the Daily Offices (Morning and Evening Prayer). Learn how to read Morning and Evening Prayer at home. Do it once, by yourself, or with your family. Consider doing it (fully or in abbreviated form) every day. Consider the use of the Family Prayer section on pp. 587-600 of the Prayer Book.
•   Go to Confession before Easter The word “Lent” is actually an Anglo-Saxon nick-name in the household of faith, derived from the word “lengthen,” now that the days are lengthening.

Lent is an opportunity to let God open up a bigger space in you for Him to fill. It is our journey toward Passover, which our Lord accomplishes on the Cross, so that we can, by dying and rising with Him, pass from the brokenness of sin and death to new and indestructible life, in the wholeness of the new creation.

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