Head Bowed to Heart

Making a good Lent has a recipe that traditionally contains prayer, fast and almsgiving. There are, however, many ways to interpret and enhance this basic recipe. First and foremost, there needs to be a commitment to mark the time in some special way. Second, a plan needs to be put in place which would focus on the particular theme you chose for the season. Being realistic with your plan and not setting yourself up for unrealistic expectations is paramount. The theme you choose should be simple: a word or phrase that becomesmantra for the season. 

Incorporating your plan of action should start first as an internal process. Strengthening yourself and your inner prayer life is a great way to start. Read what you can, reflect on your readings and then put your reflections in action. Look around in your parish for resources that you can read; ask your parish staff for recommendations. There are several Lenten devotionals available and already prepared for such reflections. Read what you can—don't be married to reading every word—savor the words you do read. The process of bowing your head in prayer bringing it closer to your heart is a profound, physical way to remind ourselves of the importance of incorporating what we think with how we feel. Letting the words sink in, having conversations about them with family and friends allows us to evangelize not only others, but first, ourselves! Speaking the words makes them real—reflecting on them and listening to other's input deepens their effectiveness.

When you are ready, act the words out—with friends, family and strangers. Small gestures can equate to profound outcomes. Feeding the hungry comes in many forms, and usually it results in you being fed more than anyone else. Here is to making a good Lent!




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