“We should also consider attending daily Mass and spending some time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament… St. John Vianney says that Prayer stretches the heart….” – Bishop Gerard Bergie, Journey through Lent, Ash Wednesday, 2021
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Journey through Lent” with the Most Rev. Gerard Bergie, Bishop of St. Catharines, is series of reflection on the Scriptures for the Sundays of Lent 2021:
“My Heart is filled with sorrow to the point of death…
“Could you not watch one hour with Me?
“Stay awake and pray not to be put to the test.”
“Then an angel appeared to Him, coming from heaven to give Him strength.” (Luke 22:43)
Now is a good time to make concrete resolutions towards a meritorious Lent.
Despite the fact that age, health and our current situation are factors that may affect some of our Lenten practises, during Lent, we can still commit to prayer, acts of adoration and reparation, fasting, abstinence, penance and developing the virtues.
First, ponder the ways you want to grow in your spiritual life this Lent. Take this to prayer. What can you do this Lent to foster and deepen your desire and efforts for the salvation of souls and for the triumph of Our Eucharistic Lamb over the forces of the devil and evil?
Love must be the firm basis of each sacrifice. We can make this journey with God as long as Love permeates our hearts. We respect the body God created and physical well-being and can choose sacrifices pleasing to Our Lord such as loving our enemies and practising forgiveness.
Ideas for Prayer (possibly before Jesus in Eucharistic adoration), Reparation & Penance:
- Say a daily prayer to St. Joseph during this year in his honour (perhaps after your daily prayers or family Rosary)
- Attend daily Mass in person (or virtually if you are shut in)
- Make frequent visits to your local Eucharistic adoration chapels or the Blessed Sacrament
- Be more faithful to or increase your current holy hours
- Sign-up for a weekly holy hour at a nearby parish
- Have a Eucharistic Adoration sign-up at your parish (you are welcome to contact us if you would like any assistance)
- Make Acts of Spiritual Communion during the day
- Invite or bring someone to Mass/Divine Liturgy or adoration
- Volunteer to become an adoration coordinator at your parish
- Every day pick a different soul (i.e. in your family tree) or let Our Lady or St. Joseph pick one. Do your best to obtain a Plenary Indulgence for their release from Purgatory (i.e. half an hour before the Blessed Sacrament, Stations of the Cross, public Rosary, reading Scripture etc.)
- Every day offer up the little inconveniences, prayers and sacrifices for souls and for a living but fallen soul who needs grace and conversion
- Pray the Divine Office (i.e. Morning, Evening, Night prayer, Office of the Readings) alone or with someone
- Pray the Rosary or more rosaries alone or with a friend
- Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet in reparation for sin
- Commit one daily act of either a spiritual or corporal work of mercy for either one who has been harmed by our sin or who has harmed us by their sin
- Commit to days of fasting (i.e. Wednesdays, Fridays) and abstinence i.e. sweets, pop, caffeine, junk food, fast food, processed food, refined sugar (trans fats, corn starch, corn sugar), alcohol, drugs, tobacco, toxins etc. throughout Lent.
- Stay strong and strengthen your immunity naturally, adequate vitamin D (i.e. 5000IU adult), vitamin C , Zinc etc., water, healthy diet, exercise, fresh air, oil of oregano, blessed samaritan/thieves oil, exorcised salt etc.
- Fast from all vices i.e. avoid sloth, gossip, impatience etc.
- Improve or begin the habit of making a daily examination of conscience – this does not have to be done right before bed if you are too tired, but rather pick a regular earlier daily time that works for you and stick to it
- Commit to going to Confession once a week (where available) – choose a particular point or defect to overcome with a corresponding virtue to practise each month. Theological virtues: faith, hope, charity. Cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude. The Seven Capital Virtues: humility, generosity, chastity, meekness, temperance, brotherly love, diligence. Practise cheerfulness, politeness, courtesy, patience
- Commit to a prescribed time of half an hour to an hour of daily physical exercise based on one’s abilities – the Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy can be prayed while exercising
- Refrain from or limit your use of conventional and social media
- Fast from TV/Internet and instead do Spiritual Reading i.e. an hour a week on Sundays or 15 minutes to half an hour daily, if possible during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Read a full Gospel during Lent
- Bless yourself, your family and your residence with holy water at bedtime
- Do your daily duties better and with a smile
- Pray Litanies, for example:
- Monday: Litany of Humility
- Tuesday: Litany of St. Michael the Archangel
- Wednesday: Litany of St. Joseph
- Thursday: Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
- Friday: Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Saturday: Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (or the Blessed Virgin Mary)
- Sunday: Litany of the Blessed Sacrament
“In His anguish He prayed even more earnestly, and His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.” (Luke 22:44) Jesus did this for us, let’s give Him our best efforts this Lent.
Choose specific Lenten resolutions. Print, write or keep a copy this Eucharistic Lenten Challenge Checklist or make your own checklist so you can refer to it often.