5 Tips for a Fruitful Lent

Lent is a time for Catholics to grow closer to God through almsgiving, fasting, and prayer.

Credit: https://www.norwichdiocese.org/

Lent is a time for Catholics to grow closer to God through almsgiving, fasting, and prayer.

It’s very easy to let Lent pass by without a thought in the world besides the fact that you are sad that you gave up sugar. Here are some tips to help you make the most of this Lent, and get started if you haven’t already! It’s never too late 🙂

1. Remember your goal

Oftentimes we focus on what we are giving up for Lent and try to perfect that sacrifice. Whether it be giving up coffee or chocolate cake, we seek to perfect the omission of that good. But when we do this, we can become too obsessive about what we are giving up, and we forget the reason why we do it at all. Catholics don’t give up something for Lent because they are trying out some sort of diet or trying to prove themselves. We give something up for Lent to allow ourselves to grow closer to Jesus Christ before his death and resurrection at Holy Week. It’s even in the words “give up.” We are giving something up to God. Also, in sacrificing something, we allow time for Christ to get a word in, and we can unite ourselves to his own sufferings on the cross.


2. Focus on three areas

We don’t only have to give something up. This is the most common thing that people do, but there are actually three different areas we can focus on when we approach Lent. The first is fasting, which is the most well-known or practiced by Catholics. This could be giving something up, or actually fasting by not eating for a certain period of time. Fasting doesn’t have to be food either. It could be from something else that you enjoy, like Netflix or social media. The second area is prayer. Lent is a great opportunity to try something new in your spiritual life, like trying to pray for 10 minutes every day or praying a few decades of the Rosary. It doesn’t have to be something big, but, in trying something new, you are telling God that you care about Him and want to give that time to Him. The last area is almsgiving, which is traditionally giving money to the poor or to the church, which is a totally valid way to do it. But another more available way of almsgiving is giving time. Whether it be spending time with your siblings or giving time to a friend to listen to her struggles, our time is a valuable asset that we can give to others to show that we value them.


3. Challenge yourself

When trying to think of something to do for Lent, it’s easy to just do something easy that sounds kind of hard and boosts your pride because you did something. Don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t be giving up something absolutely impossible and probably detrimental for your health. But try to challenge yourself to do something that will help you grow. If you aren’t challenging yourself, you aren’t going to grow, and growth is the whole point of Lent!


4. Be joyful!

We always hear that reading on Ash Wednesday that’s like: “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.” Which is true! Don’t complain about how you gave up cupcakes for Lent when they bring out the birthday treats. You are the one who decided to attempt whatever goal you are trying to achieve, so live that sacrifice with love. It’s not always going to be easy, and you will probably most definitely fail, but struggle to live the sacrifice well and with a great amount of love. 


5. Reflect

It’s always good to take time out of our lives to reflect on the direction that we are going. At Montrose we like to use the analogy of the “LifeCompass.” Basically, we have moments during our life where we will need to take more time to reflect more deeply on our purpose, recalibrate based on that purpose, then respond to the situation at hand. Lent is a great opportunity to take a moment to recalibrate. Think about your situation, how you’ve been living, what are you struggling with, what’s going well, and use all those things to make a plan for how you want to go forward. Without thinking about it, we won’t really be able to live the way that we want to live because we’ll just be following our whims. Believe me, whims are not to be trusted.

Overall, this Lent, be mindful; think about what you are doing and respond rightly. Don’t let the whole 40 days pass just avoiding the one thing you gave up. Your Lent can only be as fruitful as the effort that you put in.

Theresa Marcucci ’23, Faith Editor