My Plans for Lent 2023
This Sunday at Mass one of our priests reminded us of the three basic categories we should be looking at as we plan for Lent 2023. These are prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
I’ve been thinking about Lent. But haven’t quite nailed down my personal sacrifices yet. So I decided to look at them through that lens.
I’ve also been thinking that I’ve been neglecting this blog (and the podcast a bit) so I wanted to post something for Lent. I know that some people think it’s a little tacky to talk about what you’re doing for Lent but there is no prohibition on it and I like working things out through the blog. So here goes 🙂
Like a lot of people, I tend to focus on fasting and abstinence on Lent. I do think it’s nice to do something in addition to the fasting and abstinence required by the Church and I will be doing that.
It is not super stringent but I think it makes sense to take into consideration where we’re at. So my Lenten observance in the area of fasting and abstinence is:
Prescribed fasting and abstinence plus no sweets on any day other than Sunday.
But this year, I don’t want food or the lack of it to be my only focus.
So for Lent 2023 I’m taking a harder look at prayer and almsgiving.
When we say the Little Office of Our Lady, or the Seven Penitential Psalms, or any prayers other than the Rosary, the variety of words and expressions keeps us alert, prevents our imagination from wandering, and so makes it easier for us to say them well. On the contrary, because of the constant repetition of the same Our Father and Hail Mary in the same unvarying form, it is difficult, while saying the Rosary, not to become wearied and inclined to sleep or to turn to other prayers that are more refreshing and less tedious. This goes to show that one needs much greater devotion to persevere in saying the Holy Rosary than in saying any other prayer, even the Psalms of David. – Saint Louis de Montfort
It’s easy to look at prayer as a duty. But it is really, as one of our priests reminded me lately, a resource. By it’s very nature, prayer gives us the strength, perseverance, and focus to be better, more spiritual Catholics. Not necessarily because we ask for those things specifically. But because prayer brings us closer to God.
This is especially applicable during Lent when we struggle to persevere in our Lenten practice. So it makes sense that improving our prayer life is key to getting the most out of the 40 days preceding Easter.
It also makes sense to me that our Lenten practices should address a particular spiritual problem. One of the problems I face in regard to prayer is that my mind wanders during my daily Rosary and that I sometimes skip days when life feels hectic.
I want to be more devoted to Our Lady and her Rosary. So during Lent 2023 I’m going to be changing things up a bit.
This Lent I am going to say my daily Rosary DAILY at my kneeler (instead of wherever) before I come downstairs.
I also want to be more consistent in praying for others.
I will probably make some spur of the moment donations during Lent but one thing that struck me from the sermon this Sunday was that charity is about time as well as money.
In the hectic, relatively affluent culture of the west, it is easier for most of us to be generous with money. But the truth is, I think, that time means more.
This Lent, a lot of people will take that to heart by volunteering at Church or in soup kitchens or in some other form of outreach. But my bar is lower.
I have always been a private person and, in some ways, family life hasn’t entirely changed that. I get lost in my books and in my own writing and projects which isn’t a bad thing. I still make dinner every night and clean the kitchen and spend time with family. But my attention to housework is a bit spotty.
I don’t know if taking better care of the house can be considered an act charity but I do think that creating a nicer environment for your family makes them feel just a bit more loved. So I’m going to go for it by:
Spending a full hour on housework (not related to ordinary after dinner cleanup) cheerfully four days a week.
Part of doing this means that I am going to make a hard 12 Noon cutoff for my fiction writing and that I am going to be praying about life balance and the content of my fiction throughout Lent. I also hope to be more regular with blog, podcast and newsletter, my Etsy shop, nonfiction and other things that get pushed into the background when I am “in story.”
Keeping Track of Lent 2023
I wrote my Lenten sacrifices down on four index cards (above). I’m going to put one in my missal so I remember to pray for focus, strength and perseverance at Mass. I’m going to keep one in my kneeler with my prayer cards and another in my purse. The fourth is for my work area.
I know that these are practical, easy things I should probably already be doing. But the truth is, if I can maintain them for 40 days it will be a significant improvement. And think God probably agrees.
Wishing everyone a blessed Lenten season!
- For more on my writing, please see my ebooks page.
- Learn more about the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary here.
- For more on the priestly Society of St. Pius the X who serve at the chapel I attend please click here.