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5 Steps to Embracing Lent this Year

1. Discern How God Wants You to Grow

The best thing for us is not what we consider best, but what the Lord wants of us. - St. Josephine Bakhita

It is natural to use Lent as a time to improve ourselves. However, to truly turn the focus from ourselves to the Lord, try spending time discerning how God wants you to grow closer to him.

2. Embrace Silence

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls. -St. Teresa of Calcutta

There are so many options nowadays to fill any spare moments we have. We can play music, podcasts, TV, etc., instead of enduring silence. Learning to be okay in the silent and empty moments once in a while gives Jesus room to speak to us.

3. Go to Confession

Confession is an act of honesty and courage – an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God. -St. John Paul II

What a gift the sacrament of penance is to us! It is a concrete way for us to tangibly show our repentance before God. Confession is a beautiful sacrament that humbles us and will help us avoid future sin.

4. Prepare for Sunday Mass

Man should tremble, the world should quake, all Heaven should be deeply moved when the Son of God appears on the altar in the hands of the priest. -St. Francis of Assisi

Consider reading the Sunday Gospel before you attend Mass each week in

order to enter more fully into the Mass. It is also helpful to reflect on the readings, especially the Gospel and the homily after Mass as well. Families may consider talking about what stood out most to them in the readings or homily on the way home or at a meal. Familiarity with the Gospels can help transform your hearing of the Gospel. Sunday Mass is the highlight of the week and a beautiful opportunity for us to worship our Lord with all our hearts.

5. Focus on Personal Prayer

Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him. -St. Augustine

Last, but not least, daily prayer is vital for growing in relationship with God. Personal prayer can look different for everyone! The important thing to remember is that a relationship cannot grow without communication - this is certainly true for our relationship with the Lord. Make space in your schedule each day to spend time in conversation with Jesus.

One great way to improve your personal prayer during lent is to try to attend Daily Mass. Even if you cannot attend every day during the week, just one or two days can really make a difference in your spiritual life. Another special way to devote to personal prayer is to attend Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Click here for the Liturgy schedule at St. Francis!

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