SummaryJust Add It! 35 ways to improve your spiritual life this Lent. Homeschool grad Clara Davison on daily prayers, spiritual readings, Works of Mercy, and more!
Lent is fast approaching.
While it often feels like the longest and most difficult liturgical season, Lent is a wonderful opportunity for Catholics to practice prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to prepare their hearts and minds for Christ on Easter.
While the Church lays down specific guidelines, such as required days of fasting and abstaining from meat, it is left up to the individual to find ways to have a holy and focused Lent.
For most people, one of the go-to ways to practice discipline and sacrifice is to give up something for the entire Lenten season. Giving up desserts or sugar or caffeine are wonderful ways to practice sacrifice and instill discipline in your life.
It can help shift one’s focus from the comforts of this world to preparing one’s soul for Heaven. The Catholic Church highlights the importance of sacrificial abstaining by requiring all Catholics to refrain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent and fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The Lenten liturgical season is one of sacrifice and denying our physical wants to purify our souls for Jesus’ coming at Easter.
However, another great way to discipline yourself and improve your spiritual life this Lent is by adding something into your life.
Adding something, like spiritual reading or a daily rosary, can drastically improve your prayer life, while providing a constant reminder of the penitential season. Instead of giving up candy or caffeine, why not add daily Bible readings to your routine this Lent? Or commit to performing a Work of Mercy every day? Do you have that prayer you have been wanting your children to learn or a spiritual reading you have been wanting to share with your family?
Pick a small thing you and your family can do every day or pick a larger activity (like going to confession) that can be done weekly. Here are suggestions of things you and your family can add to your daily lives this Lenten season!
- Perform a Work of Mercy every day
- Say a daily rosary
- Keep a spiritual diary
- Attend mass during the week
- Read a spiritual book
- Listen to Christian music
- Read the Bible every day
- Write a letter every day in Lent and send it to a friend or family member
- Go to Adoration
- Read about a new saint every day—kids love this one!
- Memorize a new prayer every week
- Intentionally pray for a different person every day
- Read a book as a family—special bonus if you can find a spiritual book everyone enjoys!
- Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3pm every day—or at least on Fridays
- Wake up thirty minutes earlier every morning and use the extra time for prayer
- Adopt a priest and pray for his protection every day
- Go to confession every week in Lent
- Read the daily mass readings
- Pray the Stations of the Cross every Friday at 3pm
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen during the week
- Spend the first minute you wake up praying for the upcoming day
- Add a daily silent hour during which everyone in the family must pray, read, or reflect in silence
- Memorize a Scripture verse everyday
- Volunteer at a food pantry
- Eat one meal as a family every day
- Listen to a Catholic podcast or CD every day
- Say you are thankful for something every day
- Perform an intentional act of kindness every day
- Pray the Liturgy of the Hours
- Examine your Conscience and pray an Act of Contrition every evening
- Pray the Angelus every day at noon
- Say “thank you” a certain number of times every day…and mean it!
- Read Papal letters throughout Lent
- Light a candle in Church for someone every week
- Volunteer to make a meal for a sick parishioner in your parish every week
For some people, it is important to choose something to do every day in Lent, so they can constantly be reminded about the purpose of these forty days. For others, it is better to pick something to do every week in Lent, like a Holy Hour or volunteering at a soup kitchen. Pick something that works for you that will help improve the spiritual life of your family.
Giving something up is a great way to discipline yourself, while constantly being reminded to shift your focus from your physical needs to your spiritual needs. Adding something to your life can also help you create a habit you can continue even after Lent.
And remember, you can always continue your chosen activity even after Lent ends!