Ash Wednesday, a day of:
- Complete abstinence from meat for those 14 +
- Fasting by all those 18-59. (Fasting is one full meal with two other smaller meals that together do not equal one meal.)
One is no longer required to observe the ‘1962 Disciplines of Lent’, but if you are looking to strengthen your Lenten devotion, consider trying these:
- Every day of Lent (excluding Sundays and First Class Feasts of St. Joseph (Mar. 19) and the Annunciation (Mar. 25) is a day of fast. Liquids, including milk and juice, are allowed between meals.
- Partial abstinence every day except those mentioned above. This means meat may be taken only once per day at the main meal (except on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays, and Holy Saturday).
- Beer and wine are allowed, but no hard alcohol.
Additional Lenten Practices
Make a very humble and sorrowful confession. Take the time to go over a very good examination of conscience and write down your sins so as to not forget them. Often we get nervous in the confessional and can forget them. Stating how many times and when you committed the sins helps the confessor to give you the right penance and to help you root out these vices.
Get to Holy Mass during the week. It takes a lot of discipline to get to Holy Mass, but the fruits are well worth it. There is no greater prayer than the prayer of Jesus to the Father through the Holy Spirit in the Holy Latin Mass in which we participate.
Pray the Holy Rosary. Meditate prayerfully on the Passion of Jesus (Sorrowful Mysteries) everyday during Lent. It would be even more effective if the whole family prays it together. Set a time to pray when people are home and not too tired to give it a good effort.
Read the Bible. Read and meditate on all that led up to the passion and crucifixion of Jesus.
Pray the Stations of the Cross slowly. Take yourself back in time to the Holy Land, retracing the steps of Jesus on His way to Calvary. This is usually done on Friday, but it would also be good to do everyday of Lent.
Read a traditional Catholic book. The ‘Imitation of Christ’, ‘The Secret of the Rosary’, and ‘The Life of Christ’ are all good examples.
Make time for heart-felt prayer. Talk heart to heart with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Ghost. This is best done in front of the Blessed Sacrament. If for some reason you cannot go to a church, pray at home facing the closest Tabernacle.
Disconnect from social media and news and keep use of your phone and computer to a minimum. Encourage your children in this.
Stop watching the news. Instead, use this time to pray for the world governments. What good does it do us to be depressed over all the evil things going on in the world that we have no control over? This time can be much better used to love and communicate with our families and make our home a happier world where they can see the difference. Use time to eat and play together as a family. Take time to communicate with each other and love each other more.
Eat meals together as a family. Sacrifice time to make delicious healthy home-made meals that everyone can enjoy together.
Forgive and pray for those who have hurt you. Forgive everything from the past, once and forever. Holding on to pain from our childhood, our parish, our spouses, etc… does more harm to our spiritual life than you can imagine. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”, “Love your enemy”, “Do good to those who hurt you.” When offended, follow the precepts of Matthew 18:15-17 and absolutely reject gossip, slander, or detraction.
Stop taking the salvation of the world on your shoulders. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. We can only help those with whom we have influence. And let us not forget, salvation starts with our own souls and family. Every time you get depressed about the Pope, bishops, priests, religious and laity, get down on your knees and pray about it. Then, give it over to God, Mary and the Saints to take care of it. We only do what ever we can to peacefully reform and renew the Church. Then, we let God do the rest. We are not God. Chill out and have more joy. God is still in charge of the Church and the world. We are only His humble servants.
Invite people this Lent to attend a Traditional Latin Mass, traditional retreat or traditional group.
Follow the command of 1 Peter 3:15-16. “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; keeping a clear conscience, so that those who slander you may be put to shame by your good behavior in Christ.”