Lent is the forty-day penitential season of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving in preparation for Easter. Beginning Ash Wednesday, this new liturgical season offers the faithful a chance to more intentionally enter into the Paschal Mystery so we may more joyfully celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

Still not sure what to do over these next forty days to make them as fruitful as possible? Here are 12 ideas for Lent that will fill your body, mind, and soul and help ready you for encountering the Resurrected Christ.

 

Body

Fasting

The Church observes the discipline of fasting, particularly during Lent, as a way for the faithful to atone for their sins. Fasting fosters self-control by bringing your body’s appetite under your volition.

On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, the faithful (with some exceptions for age or health issues) are asked to eat only one large meal and two smaller meals.

You may also choose to fast from something else throughout the whole season. Is there a part of your diet you’ve been wanting to improve? Giving up something like sugar, alcohol, or processed foods for Lent can actually benefit your bodily health.

Abstinence

Catholics are called to practice abstinence by not eating meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent. But the benefits of a few meatless days goes beyond spiritual health. Eating plant-based meals, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, and nuts, also offers many health benefits.1

 
Daily workout

Commit to glorifying God with your body during these next forty days through daily exercise. Similar to fasting, exercising can help order your bodily passions and develop discipline, which will help with your pursuit of virtue. Pietra Fitness even offers a Lenten-specific workout series to accompany you during this season.


 

Mind

Read a spiritual book

The Catholic Church has a vast treasury of wisdom and reflection from the writings of great philosophers, theologians, and saints. Reading these books will help you intellectually know God in a deeper way, strengthening your faith.

Pick a book on an aspect of the spiritual life that the Holy Spirit has put on your heart, or pick a book about this particular liturgical season like Pope Benedict XVI’s Jesus of Nazareth or The Fourth Cup by Dr. Scott Hahn to accompany you during these forty days.

Meditation

The act of Daily Meditation offers many benefits. For Catholics, meditation isn’t about finding escape from the stresses of the world, but finding meaning and purpose in our sufferings and our joy in Christ alone.

Spend some time meditating on the mysteries and love of God. You can use an app like Hallow to guide you in this form of prayer or you can say meditative prayers like the Rosary on your own or with a friend and Holy Family School of Faith.

Give up technology

Lent is a time to delve deeper into prayer, a task that is often made more difficult by the amount of content we consume and the constant noise in our lives. You can make room for more silence and contemplation by putting down your phone, logging off your social media, or giving up your favorite shows for forty days.

Listen to good music

What we listen to when we are cleaning the house or driving in the car may seem like an inconsequential decision; however, what we listen to can deeply affect us. Plato even said that music “is an art imbued with the power to penetrate into the very depths of the soul.”

For the next forty days, try to be intentional with the content coming from your speakers. Listen only to music that raises your mind to God. This doesn’t mean you can only listen to Praise and Worship (though there are many seasonally-appropriate hymns that would work) but choose music that emphasizes the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.

Don’t complain

With all the difficulties in the world today, it’s easy to fall into the consuming trap of negativity. This mindset can be difficult to overcome, especially if we regularly find ourselves complaining.

Break the cycle by giving up complaining this Lent. Or even better, take some time everyday to cultivate gratitude.


Spirit

Mass

The Mass is the memorial of the Paschal Mystery. It helps us call to mind the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and helps reorient our hearts toward God. Consider adding another mass each week (maybe even daily) to help open yourself up to receive God’s love and mercy during this upcoming Easter Season.

Confession

Ash Wednesday, with its focus on turning away from our sins and preparing ourselves for heaven, reminds us of the necessity to frequent the sacrament of Confession. If you haven’t been to confession in a while (or even if you have), check your parish’s schedule and make time to ask God for forgiveness.

Pray the Surrender Novena

In the days leading up to His Passion, Jesus showed us what true surrender looks like. In the same way we remember His forty days in the desert, let us also remember and follow His example of abandonment to the will of God with the Surrender Novena.

The Surrender Novena is a 9-day prayer that helps you let go of whatever you are holding on to and entrusting it to the Lord’s loving care. This easy-to-say novena will transform your spiritual life, especially during Lent. You can find the full prayer here.

You may want to pray the novena with us in the online studio using the Surrender Novena Series.

Stations of the Cross

The well-loved Lenten tradition of Stations of the Cross provides you with a meaningful way of meditating on the Passion of Christ. Praying in this way allows you to follow the footsteps of Christ and unite yourself to Him in his sufferings. The Stations of the Cross will help draw your soul closer to God and help you experience in a real way His immense love for you.

By combining Christian meditation and exercises proven to strengthen your body, Pietra Fitness’ classes help you nourish your Body, Mind, and Spirit during your Lenten journey and throughout the whole year.


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  1. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/how-does-plant-forward-eating-benefit-your-health
 




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