downloadable PDF: Women of Faith Resources March 2020
“Lent is a time of going very deeply into ourselves… What is it that stands between us and God? Between us and our brothers and sisters? Between us and life, the life of the Spirit? Whatever it is, let us relentlessly tear it out, without a moment’s hesitation.” ~ Catherine Doherty
“God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.” ~ Pope Francis
“As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst… He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you.” ~ Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
Featured Days: Lent 2020 – February 26 to April 11, 2020
For how many years have we experienced Lent: 60? 50? 40? 30? 20? years. I dare guess we have often seen Lent as a time for penance, for giving things up, and for penitence, sorrow or sinfulness. How would we live differently if we looked forward instead to a time of “recovery,” to a time to live differently in life-giving ways wherein the best verbs are: rejuvenate, recreate, refresh, renew, rekindle, and reawaken; the best adjectives are: joyful, compassionate, merciful, hopeful, prayerful, and supportive; the best nouns are: love, understanding, wisdom, insight, community, newness.
To put a positive spin on Lent is to give it a new twist, living it in ways that gear us up to a phenomenal happening called Resurrection – an appearance of a new self; an appearance of the arrival of our best self; a wholehearted understanding of God, Jesus, and Spirit within ourselves and within others around us. It would mean awakening on Easter morning knowing the upside of paradox and recognizing the realities of injustice and violence in these our turbulent times.
Within these our turbulent, unstable times, we hear God’s call to “be strong and take heart”—to work with radical hope toward the promise of peace and justice, as well as toward the vision of equality and dignity.
Some Lenten Practices
- Take something on — 40 days of letter writing, 40 acts of kindness, or 40 phone calls to the important people in your life.
- Read the Gospel of Mark in one sitting. It is the shortest most concise story of Jesus’ life.
- Pray the Stations of the Cross at a parish or pray virtual Stations of the Cross. Go to: Virtual Stations of the Cross. Or, go to YouTube and in the search box type in “Stations of the Cross”.
- Go to a fish fry in your local area or host one with some friends. (Maybe, not the healthiest food, but a meaningful practice.)
- Participate in an existing spiritual book club or start one.
- Try coloring or drawing as a form of meditating during Lent. For some ideas, go to Praying in Color.
For other ideas, go to:
Spiritual Reading During Lent 2020
- Pope Francis’ 2020 Lenten Message
- 40 Days to a New You, U.S. Catholic: Read and reflect with well known spiritual guides.
Lectio Divina: Scripture and prayer for meditating
Read the following selections a first time. What word or words call out to you? Read the selection a second time. Ask the words or words calling to you: “What is it you want to say to me today?” Notice which quote(s) make your heart skip a beat.
Listen, Pray, and Meditate about 40 Days during Lent with Scripture Readings:
Pray and Meditate on the concept of 40 days:
- Exodus 24:17-18 Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai
- Deuteronomy 9: 6-12 Moses receives the tablets of the Covenant
- Numbers 14:26-34 The Hebrew people wandered 40 days in the desert
- 1Kings 19:1-8 Elijah on Mt. Horeb
- Matthew 4:1-11: Jesus was 40 days in the wilderness
Prayers for Lent
The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem has been prayed by the Christian church since it was written in the 4th Century
Audio Divina: Music accompanied by images
These selections may draw us into visioning and reflection during Lent. They can touch our hearts and penetrate our ways of being.
Catholic Hymns for Lent: Updated in December 2017 by Leon Nayacalevu.
Transcendent Lenten Choral Music: Uploaded January 2020 by Transept. Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere mei, Deus Tenebrae, conducted by Nigel Short Filmed at St Bartholomew the Great, London.
Visio Divina: Art for Prayer and Meditation
“Visual images are another doorway to sacred awareness. They can touch into our desire to grow in intimacy with God. So, we encourage one another to let ourselves be touched by the colors, shapes, figures and symbols that capture our attention most as we are praying. While gazing at an image ~ a painting, a photo, an icon, a sculpture, a piece of pottery … something may leap out at us, calling our attention to something of God just waiting to reveal itself to us.”
(Ideas inspired by Christine Valters Paintner and Betsey Beckman in their book, Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction. See also Abbey of the Arts.)
Here are images of Lent. Pray with them to see what they say to you today.
During Lent, we are called to go into the desert as did Jesus. Pray with this image. Ask your body, mind, and spirit to counsel you on how you might live desert days during this Lenten Season. Where might you go? What will you bring with you? Who might accompany you? Or, will you go alone?
(Dwight Adams, IndyStar Updated 3:37 p.m. ET Feb. 18, 2020)
Perhaps, you can take time to meditate on receiving ashes before receiving them this Ash Wednesday. Let the symbolism of ashes enter into you fully. You might reflect on the following articles to deepen your understanding of ashes:
Remembering the Ashes. This site is definitely my “go to” site for liturgical reflection.
Sometimes we look at Lent as only a time for fasting and penance. How might we combine fasting and feasting during Lent 2020?
Praying Lent: an Online Ministry of Creighton University February 26th – April 9th, 2020. This site offer, prayers, retreats, spiritual reading, concrete ideas for celebrating Lent, all Pope Francis’ Lenten messages and so much more.
Real Life at Home offers many tips and ways for families to celebrate Lent.
Lenten Resources for Adult Education Ministries: This site has suggestions for adults.
These ideas by Sr. Janet Schaeffler, O P stress conversion and action in our everyday lives.
Many blessings on each of you during Lent as we seek Jesus together.
From the Leadership Team of Gatherings for Women of Faith