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Editorial | Lent is a journey — get moving

Simple suggestions to make a better Lent

It's called a Lenten journey for a reason.

The journey includes prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

The U.S. Catholic bishops ask us during Lent to take inspiration from the words of St. Paul (2 Corinthians 8:9) and contemplate his invitation to live a life of evangelical poverty. Embrace the Lord's call to being the blessed poor by "giving up" material things, including food, superfluous to your basic needs; "taking up" charitable habits directed to helping and caring for others; and "lifting up" those in need through giving alms, through praying for others, and by participating in devotional practices.

Refocus and brush aside what may be preventing you from following Jesus. Take Lent seriously.

Our Lord is waiting for you every day to accept His invitation to know and love Him. All spiritual growth is rooted in prayer and the sacraments. This Lent is a call to go beyond giving up sweets. Your personal spiritual growth is critical not only for your own spiritual health but also to your mission to evangelize the world. Don't slack off. Make a plan this Lent and stick to it.

† Spend time praying with Scripture, visit our Lord in the Eucharist frequently, and engage in or renew other private devotional practices. Make going to confession a significant part of your spiritual life during Lent.

† Commit to some solitude each day, even if it is just 10 minutes. The period might include reading Scripture or just quiet time.

† Spend at least an extra half hour each day with your family. Take a walk together, sit and talk or enjoy a simple activity together.

† Tithe your time, as little as an hour a week, to people outside your normal contacts, perhaps the elderly, someone who is ill or in prison or the poor. You don't have to go too far to find a relative or acquaintance in a nursing home, for example. You could volunteer just to be with someone in need.

† Get ideas from the Lenten Prayer, Service or Penance Generator on the St. Louis Review website, www.stlouisreview.com/bv0. One suggestion: Instead of buying coffee or eating out one day, donate the money to a charity.

† Check out various resources such as: Living the Eucharist Lenten program, www.livingtheeucharist.org; Best Lent Ever daily reflections from Dynamic Catholic, www.stlouisreview.com/bvB; and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,
† Visit www.archstl.org/bible to follow the events surrounding The Saint John's Bible here in St. Louis for the year.

† It's a great time to get involved in the work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Visit www.povertyusa.org.

† Open the doors to all those in need and see in them the face of Christ. Catholic Charities of St. Louis could use your help. Visit www.ccstl.org.

† Participate in Catholic Relief Services' Rice Bowl Program to help you pray, fast and give. Visit www.crsricebowl.org.
† Be patient and emulate Christ's unconditional love.  


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