{Lent}

Lent is here! When I first became Catholic in 2009, I didn't really understand Lent and the purpose of it. Why would I voluntarily give up things I like and things that make me a happier person? (Ahem...coffee.) As my faith has grown, my understanding of Lent has changed drastically. I now really look forward to Lent and view it as some kind of spiritual retreat for myself knowing by the end of Lent I will hopefully be changed for the better. So the big question inevitably happens this time of year, "what are you giving up for Lent?" Over the years since my conversion this part of Lent has also changed drastically. At first, I started out small giving up things like sugar in my coffee and soda. (Which was not a small task for me at the time!) When I first became Catholic the hardest part of Lent was remembering 1. What I was going to give up and 2. Actually doing it. I swear the first year I participated fully in Lent I would find myself almost every Friday eating some sort of meat and simply forgetting about the fast. Which can happen to anyone and is fine. There aren't Lent police out there making sure you are following the rules. But that was just it, I viewed Lent as a bunch of rules that I knew I should follow and just felt super guilty if I forgot any of them.

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Overtime, I have come to realize and appreciate Lent for what it really is. It's a time for cleansing, getting to know the heart of Christ and coming out of these 40 days a better person. It's a time to prepare our hearts for the biggest feast for Christians which is Easter. During Lent I like to give up one thing and add something out of the ordinary to my day. This Lent I would like to focus on prayer. I want to dedicate each day of the week to someone particular and offer up my day for them. I especially want to offer up the tough stuff through out the day for that person. I've talked about incorporating prayers into my everyday routine so much and have definitely lacked in that area. I'm hoping by adding this type of prayer into my daily routine that by the end of the 40 days I can continue this type of prayer throughout the whole year. My inspiration for starting this type of prayer up during Lent comes from a quote I found from Pope Francis.

"In the face of so many wounds that hurt us and could hardern our hearts, we are called to dive into the sea of prayer, which is the sea of God's boundless love, to taste his tenderness. Lent is a time of prayer, of more intense prayer, more prolonged, more assiduous, more able to take on the needs of the brethren; intercessory prayer, to intercede before God for the many situations of poverty and suffering." -Homily, March of 2014

I hope you all have a fruitful Lenten season and grow to really appreciate this time in the church!

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