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Living Lent: How will I refocus my life on God this Lent?

February 20, 2020
By Jodie Rubenzer, Spiritual Growth and Discipleship
Living Lent:  How will I re-focus my life on God this Lent?
 
We take time to prepare for things in our lives.  During Lent, we prepare for the greatest celebration of the church year – Easter.
Every day, we are formed by our decisions.  Situations, jobs, fears and desires shape us.  Conversations, mundane daily tasks, our vocations as married, single, religious and the relationships we have because of these choices form us day in and day out. 
 
We are all however given opportunities to include choices and influences that draw us closer to God and to becoming the person God intended us to be.  We have the opportunity to choose daily to pray, to enter conversations that encourage, to serve others and the greater community and to allow positive instead of negative influences in our lives. 
Lent is a wonderful time to re-set; to ask ourselves these questions:
 
What do I need to be happy?
How do I spend my time, energy and money?  What does this say about my priorities?
Do I have unhealthy habits that pull me away from God?
 
Here at St. Bridget we have many opportunities to draw closer to Jesus during Lent.  There are the ARISE together in Christ small groups that meet one time per week for 6 weeks, there are the Stations of the Cross, Weekly Centering Prayer, daily Mass or Scripture Communion, to name a few.  However, if this doesn’t call out to you I am inviting you to consider the following two opportunities that can be done individually or with your family – the domestic Church. 
 
Unplug During Lent
Consider these questions.  Does social media have the potential to lead us closer to God or will the constant companionship of devices drive a wedge between families and our communities?  How much time do I spend with my devices? (Lent Unplugged, Michael T. Best)
As we enter into Lent maybe we could consider one or all of the following:
Set the standard to turn off the TV during your family mealtime; add computers to this list and keep phones off and away from the table.
Instead of video games or TV, embrace the outdoors, immersing yourself in God’s creation by taking a hike, looking for birds, enjoying a sunset.
There are 960 hours in Lent if unplugging totally is not possible, how about an hour a day for 40 days.
 Keep a log of the activities you’ve tried instead of technology.  How has it changed you or your relationships?
 
The 1% Challenge
This is a challenge that was shared with me.  It is a tool to invite people to encounter Jesus in the Scriptures through prayer.  The 1% Challenge is a registered trademark of the Evangelical Catholic (EC). 
There is a difference between knowing about Jesus vs. knowing Jesus.
   
 Strive to spend 1% of each day alone with God.  This amounts to 15 minutes a day in quiet prayer.  How would this look?  Here are 3 possible tips:
 
Talk to God like you would a friend.
There is no right or wrong way to talk to God.  Share with God your struggles and joys.   Keep it real; even asking God to help you to pray, is a prayer.  A great outline for prayer is to start by thanking God, then seeking forgiveness and then asking God for what you need. 
 
Listening to God
St. John of the Cross said “Silence is God’s first language”.  Use “The little Black Book” made available to us here at St. B’s, or the readings of the day (these can be found listed in the bulletin or on the USCCB website) and read a small part of each day’s message.  Listen for words that bring comfort or challenge, healing or joy and sit in the silence with God receiving whatever message God might be sharing with you.
 
Being with God
Just simply start and end each prayer time with a minute of silence.   Maybe you will have the luxury of sitting in the silence of your own home waiting for your household to wake up.  Smell the coffee, hear the cat purr…. whatever it is simply rest in God and lean into Him.
 
Fifteen minutes over 40 days’ amount to 600 minutes of prayer time.  Isn’t that awesome!
 
A few important footnotes:
 
Try to be intentional about your time.  Try not to pray while driving.  Strive to give God your full attention.  Do what works best for you.
If possible avoid devotions such as the rosary; even though this is good, let this time be more of an intentional time of conversation or silence with God.
Name a particular time of day to pray if possible.  This helps to develop a habit of prayer. 
Make note of changes you notice within yourself. 
Our Lenten practices help us to grow closer to Jesus and respond “yes” when he calls out to us.  This Lent how will we respond? 
1 % Challenge - Evangelical Catholic. (n.d.).
Lent Unplugged, Michael T. Best. (n.d.). Liguorian.