1: Praying Lent

I credit working for our parish and preparing our bulletin for my forward thinking this year about Lent.  Creighton University’s Online Ministries have long been a favorite resource for me, from their Online Retreat in Everyday Life (I blogged my way through it a couple of years ago), to their Praying Advent and Praying Lent sections, to the many other links and downloads they have available, including a weekly guide to prayer, daily reflections, and audio retreats.

Praying Lent has reflections about preparing for Lent (focusing on what God wants to give us during Lent especially struck me the other day) and an audio conversation series that’s hitting home for me (before Lent even begins!).

2: One Prayer a Day

This year, I find myself especially drawn to One Prayer a Day for Lent.  I often find that I overbook myself for Lent and then I flop.  Sometimes this only happens in my head, but other times, it’s as though I just didn’t listen to the plan God wanted me to have and instead insisted on forging forward with my plan (a common problem in my life).

3: Liturgy of the Hours

Last year or the year before, I added Evening Prayer to my prayer routine during Lent.  Usually, my evening prayer consists of a Hail Mary or something quick and brainless because, well, my brain is gone by then.  I am an obscenely early riser, and I have a routine of silence and time with God first thing in the morning.  I try to send up a “Love you, good night” along with a Hail Mary or Our Father as I head to bed (usually with a crashing noise).  When I’ve added the formal Evening Prayer to my routine during Lent in the past, though, it has transformed my evenings from times of stressful chaos to times of busy calm.  The activity is usually the same; what’s changed is my perception.

Because I’ve found it to be such a helpful practice, I wanted to recommend it to you as something to try.  The Liturgy of the Hours (found online via Universalis and downloadable from a variety of places, though my favorite is DivineOffice.org) is rich and full of opportunities for being touched by God.  Praying the Psalms is powerful and it brings such peace to my days.

4: Catechism Links

I find dedicated spiritual reading at Lent a rewarding practice.  I have thought, for months, that this was the year for St. Augustine’s Confessions.  Listening to that little tug inside, though, I’ve decided to start on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  There are quite a few links associated with the Catechism, many of which I’ve used in researching columns.  The Vatican has the full text of the Catechism online, and St. Charles Borromeo Church in Picayune, MS, has a Catechism search utility that has helped me.  I have also enjoyed and learned a lot from Pat Gohn‘s columns at both Today’s Catholic Woman and Faith & Family Live (link is to this week’s piece), and I credit that writing with inspiring me to actually pick up my Catechism this Lent.

5: Lenten Papal Message

Last year, I read Pope Benedict XVI’s message for Lent a couple of times.  I was amazed by it.  I don’t know what I expected (what I ever expect), but I found myself so touched and moved by the Pope’s writing.  It really impacted my Lent.  So, this year, I’m printing off this year’s Lenten message and I’ll be reading and rereading it during Lent.

6: Crossroads Initiative’s Lent Resources

I stumbled on the Lent resources over at The Crossroads Initiative and had a few WOW moments.  There are articles that answer questions I’m always posing to Fr. pat, things like “Why is Lent 40 days long?”  There are also a wide variety of downloadable documents from Church fathers and noted Catholics.

7: USCCB’s Lent Site

I’m disappointed that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops haven’t updated their Lent site from 2009, but I assume they will.  They have audio resources as well and many great explanations and ideas.  Their thought for the day is worth checking out too.

What are your favorite Lenten links?

Have you seen the rest of this week’s Quick Takes?  It’s worth a visit to Conversion Diary to click around.