If you have not already checked out Kate Mahon‘s post, Rend Your Hearts: How to Break Your Heart this Lent, then please give it a read now!
Some additional folks at Daily Theology wanted to share what they are doing this year. Have a reflective Ash Wednesday and meditative Lent!
At my parish this past Sunday, when the CCD kids were dismissed from mass for their own liturgy of the word, the presiding priest mentioned they would also be making the ashes for Ash Wednesday: they would get to burn the dried palms! I immediately wished I could join them. There’s so much that Lent has me ready to burn. We only care for the world as well as we care for ourselves. I grow increasingly grateful for the practices of self-care that Lent encourages: acknowledging without judgment what my inner self could do better; considering how the manifestations of these untreated behaviors have affected my relationships to God, myself, and others; and discerning a balm to heal what I’ve let run wild for too long. Sometimes that balm is fire and energy, bringing the gentleness of work and activity where pooling stagnation brings pain and weakness. For me this will mean taking on daily visualization meditations on compassion and writing handwritten notes, birthday cards, or journaling weekly so that the work of my self-discipline also brings energy to others. My mantra: “Go easy. Light a fire!” — Christine McCarthy
This year, I feel led to think about Lent as a time to come out of myself. Sometimes, I worry that the stereotypical question, “what am I giving up for Lent?” leads me to focus too much on me. If I am giving up sweets for Lent, then I spend a lot of my time thinking about myself, and my cravings, and how I am going to cope with my cravings. Instead, I’d like this Lent to be a time of remembering it’s not about me. None of it- not my community, not my ministry, not my future callings… As I pray through the readings of Lent, I pray for the lens through which Jesus saw the world: a view point that focused on the least; a way of seeing that spotlights injustice and alienation; a lens that propels me to act for others. This is a big challenge-and it may sound a little bit broad. However, I’ve already called myself out a few times that I have become too drawn in on myself, and it really has changed my outlook and actions already! — Dannis Matteson
Lent seems to always give me some anxiety but also some excitement. That Friday streak burrito? Gone. That said, hello fish tacos! In all seriousness, I see many folks giving up social media again but that’s so 2013. I’m telling friends to perhaps limit their social media time to just the mornings or the afternoons. Many suggest a time limit but this can quickly get neurotic. How about using social media to your benefit? Last year, I shared gratitude for one person each day on my Facebook wall. Seems cheesy but it’s oddly refreshing and humbling to reach out to those important to you. One small note to add: The wall post reeked of humble bragging. If I had to tweak it, I’d use a private message instead. This Lenten season, I am adding five minutes of daily prayer when I listen to a podcast. Why? Because I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts. Too much time. In light of my new addiction, I want to incorporate a time shift back to prayer. I will not be shocked if my Ignatian meditations involve a podcast with Jesus as he journeys through the desert. I’d listen to that podcast. — Mike Avery