February 21, 2021 - The First Sunday of Lent
Spiritual Life-Hacks for Lent
As we begin the blessed liturgical season of Lent, the Pastor Columns will pause with the journey through the catechism and shift focus toward Lent-specific matters. To begin, this Pastor Column will present some ideas to make Lent as grace-filled and fruitful as possible – or, in other words, some “spiritual life-hacks.”
These ideas come from a Catholic ministry called “The Evangelical Catholic.”
Strive to spend more time with Jesus this Lent. Consider this: just one percent of your day amounts to fourteen minutes and twenty-four seconds. Why not offer Jesus just one percent of your day, therefore? With regard to stewardship and our Time, Talent, and Treasure, the Church encourages us tithe. That would
percent of our time set aside for Jesus. Challenge yourself to offer up not even as much as
percent. Each day, spend fourteen minutes and twenty-four seconds (14:24) in prayers. Set the egg timer and get praying!
How to do this?
First: prepare. Begin your 14:24 with the Sign of the Cross. Take a moment to be quiet and to be still. Count seven seconds as you breathe in the full capacity of your lungs, then count another seven seconds as you breathe out again. Then after quieting, stilling, breathing in, and breathing out, pray the Holy Spirit to guide you in this time of prayer. (And if you set your egg time to begin when you made the Sign of the Cross, you now about 13:30 remaining.)
Second: read. Read a passage from Sacred Scripture, slowly and attentively. Read whatever is the Gospel passage assigned for that day’s Mass; there is a reason, after all, why Mother Church assigns that passages that she does on the days that she does. Go with it. Read the passage once, then read it a second time. Have a prayer journal and pen ready to hand to jot down any notes on what words, phrases, or images caught your attention as your read that passage twice through. (If you are still keeping track of the time, you now have no more then 10:00 remaining, depending on the Gospel passage that you read.)
Third: reflect. Think about the meaning of whatever caught your attention. Why and how does it speak to you? Maybe you even imagine yourself in that Gospel scene. Engage all five senses: what do things look like, sound like, smell like, etc.? And most important of all, what is Jesus saying to you in this scene? (If you are still keeping track, you likely have no more than 5:00 remaining.)
Fourth: respond. Now speak to Jesus about the Gospel passage, the Gospel scene at hand, or whatever is in your mind or on your heart. Thank Him for blessings and graces received. Ask Him for help, for yourself or others. And then listen to how Jesus might be responding: what are the changes or prompted calls to action that you are feeling invited to live out? (Time remaining, likely no more than 1:00.)
Fifth: rest. Spend the final minute of your daily 14:24 simply resting in silence and
Jesus. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:11)
~ Fr. Lewis
on Saturday, February 20 at 2:00PM