Now that we are about a week into Lent, the challenge of Lenten sacrifice has begun. Whether it is due to an insatiable craving for dessert, or an afternoon pick-up with my favorite variety of soft drink, the knowledge that I have decided to turn the radio off for my commute, or even the knowledge that a cold shower awaits me after I crawl out of bed, I am now asking WHY!!!???? You may be asking that too.
1. Why do we as Catholics strive to live penitential lives?
2. Why do we decide to take on acts of penance? (In other words, how can we do penance most faithfully?)
Good news! This blog seeks to answer the two above questions and to help us have a better Lent (and hopefully faith life). See Part 1 here. Part 2 of 5 is below.
It allows us to grow in relationship with God (by removing distractions)
As religious and people of faith, we are called to follow the example of the prophetic call: we are supposed to live in a way that opens us to change our hearts and have a better awareness of God. The key to this awareness is to rid ourselves of distractions. However, we are a distracted people. Some of these distractions: noise, worries and an avoidance of silence/empty time. How much time do we spend on social media, in listening to music and watching videos, shows and movies? What is our response when we sit down or slow down? For many, it’s worry!
How do we combat these distractions? PRAYER! We all have time for prayer.
How do we grow in relationship with God (grow our prayer life) this Lent? By freeing up time (if you have time for Netflix or March Madness, you have time to pray) and entering into a quieter environment internally and externally. Doing this disposes us to God and His graces to guide us in prayer.
Here are some practical tips:
- The most important part of prayer is quieting ourselves, asking God to be with us and asking God to help us come to know Him better. Feel free to say a Rosary; bring God your intentions, say “Thank YOU” for all His gifts or praise Him for His goodness.
- Being in a quiet place is essential. Perhaps, you can find quiet in your room, a chapel, or even better, in front of the Blessed Sacrament (either in the tabernacle or in exposition).
- How long? 10-20 minutes is a good starting point, but traditional Catholic prayer practices (the Saints) aimed for an hour.