Fasting, Praying, and Charity during the First Week of Lent
The ultimate goal of the Season of Lent is a conversion of heart or a turning away from our sinful ways in order to embrace the Gospel. One of the phrases used during the imposition of Ashes on Ash Wednesday is this: Repent, and believe in the Gospel. This is a very direct and clear statement. This is what we are called to do during Lent.
Each Friday of Lent we will offer you one attainable suggestion for the three Lenten disciplines of fasting, prayer and charity. You might look at these as cumulative as we journey through the season. For this First Week of Lent we invite you to: fast from noise; engage in Centering Prayer; and be a Simon of Cyrene to others.
Fasting from Noise
- Our world is filled with constant noise. As individuals and as a society we have become estranged from silence. And yet it was not in the loud thunder but rather in the silent breeze that God was revealed.
- This Lent we might do well to make time for silence in an intentional and prayerful way.
- The kind of silence we pursue is not simply the absence of noise or a suspension of speech. We seek the kind of stillness where the Word of God is revealed, the voice of God is recognized and the love of God is experienced.
- This type of Contemplative Prayer is a perfect companion to our attempt to fast from noise. Centering Prayer is the prayer of silence. In this deep silence, reaching beyond thoughts, words and emotions we open our mind, heart and soul to God.
- For more information on Centering Prayer we invite you to visit:
Charity: Being a Simon of Cyrene for someone
- A simple and silent way to train ourselves in acts of kindness is through the exercise of being a Simon of Cyrene. Like Simon helped to buttress Jesus’ cross we are asked to help others.
- Put the names of your family and/or friends into a bag. Each Sunday in Lent draw a name and keep it a secret. Try to do something kind for that person during the week without letting them know who did it. At the end of the week, you might try to guess who your “Simon of Cyrene” was.
Throughout Lent please remember to be patient with yourself and others. Lent is neither an endurance test nor a time to prove our Christian stamina. Rather, Lent is a time to slow down and ponder what is essential to our faith and thus to our life as Christians. So please pace yourselves. Give yourself and others the necessary space. And above all be forgiving.