Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Think Outside the Box for Lent

Approach Lent with realistic expectations, adjust your attitude towards Lent and think outside the box when it comes to prayer, fasting and almsgiving, recommended Fr. Scott Hurd, author of Daily Devotions for Lent 2013.

Father Hurd spoke in Quinn Hall on the evening of Feb. 6 on "From Ashes to Living Flame: Keeping a Meaningful Lent for Busy Adults" and shared ideas and pastoral suggestions on how to grow in our relationship with God in Lent.

Lent comes from an old word English word “lecten” which means springtime. Fr. Hurd noted that as spring is a time of renewal, the Holy Spirit brings a renewal in our relationship with God and the result of that can only be joy. We are encouraged to look at Lent as an opportunity to make room for the Holy Spirit to bring forth joy, not to see the Lenten season as a dreaded ordeal we must go through each year.

Sometimes people can get into a “Lenten rut,” almost like “punching a ticket to get to Easter,” he said. “Invite the Holy Spirit in prayer to help you think outside the box” to approach Lent in a new way, said Fr. Hurd. Maybe you will make an intentional effort to de-accumulate extra stuff you no longer use and have yard sale and donate the money raised to the poor. This can liberate you from things you don’t need and help you to live with Gospel simplicity.

Prayer can be brought into a variety of brief moments throughout the day, “little crumbs of time,” Fr. Hurd said, such as offering a prayer before and after your daily commute, when dropping off or picking up the children from school, or even before and after a daily cup of coffee. All of these are opportunities to raise our minds to God, give thanks and ask his help throughout our day.

Even two minutes a day of prayer is a good goal to start with for Lent, he noted. Quoting Catholic psychologist and author Robert Wicks, Fr. Hurd said, “Simple constant deeds are always more meaningful than rarely fulfilled great promises.”

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