Developing a new habit or fostering growth doesn’t just happen. It takes purpose and discipline to adopt a new routine or mature in the faith. Lent is the perfect time to make a change, recommit, or dig deeper.
Following the example of Jesus, we enter into the penitential season of Lent with a keen awareness of our need to retreat from the busyness of the world. Through the next 40 days, we are challenged to let loose our grip on comforts and mindless routines, so that we might enter into that inner place where the Still Small Voice of Christ speaks, beckoning us to draw closer.
Let’s rise to the challenge. Let’s endeavor to let go (of sin) and pick-up (holy habits) as we make ready for the coming celebration of His glorious Resurrection on Easter. Here are 15 resources to help you make Lent 2021 fruitful and fulfilling.
1. Bible in a Year
Immerse yourself in the Word of God with Ascension Presents’ Bible in A Year podcast. If you haven’t already begun listening to Fr. Mike Schmitz’s daily readings and explanations, you’re in for a treat. Father’s presentation style is engaging and informative.
The average episode is between 20-25 minutes long, the perfect amount of time for listening while driving to work, folding the laundry, working out, or cooking dinner. All episodes are numbered, so be sure to start at the beginning. You can access Bible in a Year episodes for free on most podcast platforms.
2. Mornings with Venerable Sheen
Start your Lenten mornings with the wisdom of Venerable Fulton Sheen. Sign-up for free daily Reflections for Lent with Fulton J. Sheen at the Fulton Sheen Institute. Dr. Peter Howard shares the timeless teaching of Venerable Sheen each day throughout the season. Once you’ve signed-up you’ll receive an emails with new daily reflections.
3. Go Deeper with Sheen
Take the plunge and go deeper with Venerable Fulton Sheen, the visionary. Dr. Peter Howard’s The Final Hour Course offers an eye-opening perspective on our times, times which Venerable Sheen saw coming.
This is a long course, but it’s guaranteed to inform, enliven, and inspire you. Additionally, it details a battle plan for moving forward. Students will learn the historical roots for our present circumstances and the means for winning the war against the real enemy, sin.
Decorate your calendar or invite your children or grandchildren to do so. Make it pretty with crayons, markers, or colored pencils and then hang it on the refrigerator. Cross off the days as you journey through this penitential season in eager anticipation of Easter.
5. Go Grey Scale.
Turn your smart phone to grey scale to help you curb your usage. Depending on your type of phone, there are a variety of ways to access this setting. Turning all of your images and social media feeds to shades of grey is a visual reminder that this period of Lent is a somber time.
It can also serve as a subtle nudge to avoid mindless scrolling. Additionally, once we reach Easter and you turn your device’s color back to normal, you’ll have a new appreciation for all of the beautiful family photos that fill your social media newsfeeds.
6. Make a List
Write a list of your chosen Lenten practices. Keep it simple and doable. Put your list somewhere that is easily accessible for you (taped to your bathroom mirror, tucked in your daily journal, etc.)
While it may be enticing to think you’ll read the whole Bible in a month, fast on bread and water, and run 15 miles a day while barefoot, chances are you won’t stick to those plans for all of Lent. So, set reasonable goals. Commit to a few practices that are sure to draw you closer to Christ. And then stay accountable.
7. Learn Some Latin
Whether your goal is to learn to pray the entire Traditional Mass or just to gain a greater appreciation for this beautiful language, Dr. Janet E. Smith can help.
Through Learn to Pray the Traditional Latin Mass, Dr. Smith presents a series of free video lessons (with accompanying printable downloads). Her presentations are aimed to make even novice students proficient in praying the Confiteor, Gloria, and Credo.
8. Tune into Catholic Programming
Watch or listen to EWTN programming. The Eternal Word Television Network offers everything from daily Mass to Catholic entertainment. You can access the programs through cable, radio and internet.
Radio Maria, based in Italy, also reaches listeners around the globe with quality Catholic programming.
9. Pick Your Times for Prayer
Get intentional about prayer. Set reminders on your watch, cell phone or clock.
Set alarms for 6 am, 12 noon and 6 pm to help you remember to pray the Angelus. Schedule your ringer to buzz at 3 pm and stop to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet. Pick your hour and set your clock to chime when it’s time to meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary.
Remember, also, to get intentional about praying through the Stations of the Cross. Attend the Stations of the Cross at a local parish, pray them in an outdoor setting with a group, or simply join Jesus’s Passion on your own.
Follow the Church’s prescribed fasts, but don’t stop there. This Lent, fast from: social media, watching daily news, negative commenting online, rash judgments, impatience, profane words, mindless entertainment, anger, grudges, arguing, complaining, unnecessary purchases, alcohol, second-helpings, between meal snacks, hitting the snooze button, hot showers, and immediate gratification.
Each time you forgo something, offer the intention for someone. Turn your curbed cravings and suppressed desires into powerful prayers for others.
11. Be a Witness for Life
Stand in the breech for the unborn, participate in a 40 Days for Life campaign this Lent. Commit to being a peaceful, prayerful witness in front of a local abortion facility over the course of the next 40 days. Bring your family. Enlist a friend to accompany you.
12. Cultivate Silence
Our modern world reverberates with noise. Whether it’s the actual drone of our televisions, radios and smart phones or the mental noise that fills our minds when we scroll social media and read the latest fear-inducing news report, we’ve generally lost our understanding of the value of silence. And yet, God speaks to us in the silence.
Commit to spend at least one hour a week adoring the Blessed Sacrament this Lent. Sit in silence before your Creator and allow Him the space and time to speak within your heart.
If you can’t find an open adoration chapel nearby, follow Venerable Sheen’s example and spend an hour adoring Christ in the tabernacle. If the church is closed, adore from the front steps or even from the church parking lot.
Perpetual adoration is also available online. Make the effort and Jesus will supply the grace.
13. Find Lenten Events Around the Diocese of Raleigh
Make a crown of thorns out of salt dough and toothpicks. Then, pluck a thorn off each time you make a sacrifice, pray for someone, or accomplish a good work. The goal is to remove all of the thorns in time for Easter.
This is a sweet exercise that helps children visualize the meaning of their Lenten practices. But even adults can benefit from this simple craft.
For added measure, repurpose your bare crown before the Easter vigil. Using flowers, pretty beads, or paint, transform the braided dough into a beautiful crown fit for the King!
15. March Madness Catholic Style
Forget sports teams and athletes, pick the real heroes this season. Catholic Madness 2021 introduces you to the saints and engages you through a daily poll.
Through participation in a fun and easy to follow game, you’re sure to gain a wealth of knowledge about holy young men and women who became Catholic saints.
Save the Date
Save the date for Ignited By Truth’s 2021 Virtual Conference on the IBT Youtube channel. Saturday, April 24, 2021 join in and get ignited by the truths of our Catholic faith!
Tara K. E. Brelinsky is a home schooling mother of 8 living children, with 6 more heavenly ones. She works as a freelance writer and speaker. Married to her childhood sweetheart, they make their home in NC where they own/operate a restaurant, teach NFP and raise 2 dogs, 2 cats, ducks, roosters and a flock of hens (in addition to all those wonderful kids). You can read more of her musings and inspirations on her blog, Blessings in Brelinskyville.