What did you give up for Lent? Chocolate? Pop? For many of us, Lent has become synonymous with giving up something – usually chocolate. But there’s more to it than that. Lent is actually about preparing ourselves spiritually for Easter, and there are three main ways that the Church teaches us to do this: through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
Prayer is the first on the list for a reason – it’s about our relationship with God. Lent is an opportunity to grow in our faith and our understanding of God’s love for us. It’s not about saying a certain number of prayers or having an emotional experience, but about spending time with God each day. Even just 15 minutes of prayer each day can have a powerful impact on your life. Can’t do 15 minutes? Starting your day with a Hail Mary could be a great first step.
Fasting is another way to prepare for Easter. Giving something up can help us to build the virtues of self-discipline and fortitude- resisting temptation. But don’t take fasting lightly. If you choose to give something up, make sure it’s something that will challenge you and help you grow in your faith. It is important to approach fasting with intention and humility, while also recognizing our own limitations and weaknesses.
Finally, there’s almsgiving. Almsgiving is rooted in the Christian principles of love and compassion for others. This can take many forms, from donating money, to volunteering your time, or using your talents to assist at mass. Whatever you choose to do, the important thing is to remember that Lent is about more than just giving something up – it’s about giving generously or ourselves, and by doing so, we reflect the love of God and embody the teachings of Jesus to care for others.
So, as you prepare for Lent this year, think about how you can use this time to deepen your relationship with God. Maybe it’s committing to daily prayer, or giving up something that’s been holding you back. Or maybe it’s finding a way to give back to your community, church, or organization. Whatever you choose to do, remember that Lent is a journey – and a journey always starts with a single step.