For many people, the final days of lent are excruciating. Regardless of how devout of a follower you are, abstaining, fasting and doing for 40 days and in the name of Jesus Christ can be downright tiring. As the end of Lenten nears, and as your cravings for whatever it is you gave up grow stronger, you may lose sight of why you chose to partake in the tradition in the first place. Fortunately, there are ways you can renew your focus and add an extra measure of meaning to the final days of Lent.
Begin the Stations of the Cross
If you haven’t already, begin the mini pilgrimage of moving from station to station so that you can really meditate on the final days of Christ. Praying the Stations of the Cross is a great way to renew your passion for Lent, as the Stations are all about Christ’s passion. Try to begin praying the Stations as early in Lent as possible, and spread them out. If you try to do all 14 Stations at once, you risk over-promising and under-delivering. Give yourself enough time to really immerse yourself in the scene and absorb what Jesus was doing at that moment.
Make Good On Your Promises
It’s so easy to let your good intentions fall by the wayside as Lenten gets underway. While you shouldn’t feel guilty for indulging in a chocolate bar or two or for buying yourself a new pair of shoes when you said you wouldn’t, you should try to use the final days of Lent to observe your promise and make good on it. In addition to abstaining or giving more, you should also pray the daily rosary, be more religious about your prayer and devote yourself fully during the home stretch.
Celebrate Your Priest on Holy Thursday
Holy Thursday may not mean much to you, but it means a lot to the priest in your life. Show him that you understand and appreciate the sacrifices he makes for you and other members of your church by presenting a small token of appreciation. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Something small, such as a note informing him you will devote a holy hour to giving thanks for his efforts, can go a long way toward reinforcing his and your faith.
Read the Bible With Purpose
It’s not uncommon for followers to play “Bible Roulette,” which involves opening the Bible and praying with the passage on which your finger lands. The Bible is full of insightful passages, but there are just as many that make little sense and are more apt to leave you more confused than feeling closer to God. When praying during Lent, do so with a plan. For instance, do a Gospel chapter by chapter, or download a preset list of passages. Though it may feel like cheating at first, you may find you get more out of prayer by taking an organized approach.
Plan a Contemplative Retreat
Whether you’ve been good about sticking to your promises or you’ve been over Lent for weeks, a great way to renew your excitement and commitment is to go on a contemplative retreat. Depending on your personal responsibilities and work schedule, a retreat may entail a single, solo day out in nature with the Bible, a notebook and a bagged lunch. If you have more time and resources, consider taking an overnight trip to a monastery or retreat house. A small reprieve from everyday life may be just what you need to regain perspective and appreciate your reasons for participating in Lent in the first place.
Remember, Lent Is About Jesus
At the end of the day, Lent is not about what you’re giving up, but rather about Jesus and strengthening your relationship with Him. By remembering this simple fact, you may find it easier to go through your daily devotions and stick to your promises.