Each season in the liturgical year is focused on key periods in Jesus' life. The annual liturgical year is made up of: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week & Easter, and finally Pentecost. The time between seasons is know as Ordinary Time.
- Advent: Jesus is Coming
- Christmas: Jesus is Born
- Ordinary Time (1): Jesus Teaches
- Lent: Jesus will Die and Rise
- Three Days (Triduum): Jesus Dies
- Easter: Jesus Rises
- Ordinary Time (2): Jesus Teaches
What Should I Do for Lent? Pope Francis' 10 Tips
Every year Catholics try to answer the age old question: What should I do for Lent? Who better to pick for your Lenten spiritual director than Pope Francis? He has some great ideas for you! Here are 10 of his best tips:
Get rid of the lazy addiction to evil ... “[Lent] is a powerful season, a turning point that can foster change and conversion in each of us. We all need to improve, to change for the better. Lent helps us and thus we leave behind old habits and the lazy addiction to the evil that deceives and ensnares us.” - General Audience, March 5, 2014.
Do something that hurts ... “Lent is a fitting time for self-denial, we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that cost nothing and does not hurt.” - Lenten Message, 2014
Don't remain indifferent ... “Indifference to our neighbour and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience. God is not indifferent to our world, he so loves it that he gave his Son for our salvation.” - Lenten Message, 2015
Pray: Make our hearts like yours! ... “During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord: ‘Fac cor nostrum secundum co tuum’: Make our hearts like yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.” - Lenten Message, 2015
Take part in the sacraments ... “Lent is a favorable time for letting Christ serve us so that we in turn may become more like him. This happens whenever we hear the word of God and receive the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. There we become what we receive; the Body of Christ.” - Lenten Message, 2015
Prayer ... “In the face of so many wounds that hurt us and could harden 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 5, 2014
Fasting ... “We must be careful not to practice a formal fast, or one which in truth ‘satisfies’ us because it makes us feel good about ourselves. Fasting makes sense if it questions our security, and if it also leads to some benefit for others, if it helps us to cultivate the style of the Good Samaritan, who bends down to his brother in need and takes care of him.” - Homily, March 5, 2014 “Fasting makes sense if it questions our security...” Pope Francis
Almsgiving ... “Today gratuitousness is often not part of daily life where everything is bought and sold. Everything is calculated and measured. Almsgiving helps Us to experience giving feely, which leads to freedom from obsession of possessing, from the fear of losing what we have, from the sadness of one who does not wish to share his wealth with others.” - Homily, March 5, 2014
Help the Poor ... “In the poor and outcast we see Christ's face; by loving and helping the poor, we love and serve Christ. Our efforts are also directed to ending violations of human dignity, discrimination and abuse in the world, for these are so often the cause of destitution. When power, luxury and money become idols, they take priority over the need for a fair distribution of wealth. Our consciences thus need to be converted to justice, equality, simplicity and sharing.” - Lenten message, 2014
Evangelize ... “The Lord asks us to be joyous heralds of this message of mercy and hope! It is thrilling to experience the joy of spreading this good news, sharing the treasure entrusted to us, consoling broken hearts and offering hope to our brothers and sisters experience darkness.” - Lenten Message, 2014 Your probably won't be able to take huge steps forward in all of these areas. Instead, pick a couple that stand out to you and try to find practical ways to grow in your love of God and your love of your neighbour.
Here is Pope Francis' suggested list for Lent:
- Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
- Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
- Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
- Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
- Fast from worries and trust in God.
- Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
- Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
- Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy.
- Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
- Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
- Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.