Just a quick note on my Lenten plans. This year, I decided that I would have a 3 phase plan for Lent. I wanted to grow in three areas: spiritually, physically and emotionally.
1. Physical growth- I hate drinking water. I usually stay pretty dehydrated, which can get me into trouble. So, for Lent, I will drink 2 glasses of water in the morning and 2 glasses of water in the evening. Not only will this refresh my body, but in symbolism it is not healthy to be constantly rejecting water, since water is life. I don’t wish to avoid life or reject life, but rather embrace life. So, I will do this in a tangible fashion and hope that it has some effect on my spirit as well (since we are body-spirit mixes, I figure it’s worth a shot).
2. Spiritual growth – I don’t really have a problem praying or talking to God. And most of my friends would probably say that I don’t have a problem talking, period. However, in my relationship with God, I find it harder to hear what He is saying to me. So, I will make it a point to read 2 chapters of Scripture each day of Lent. That way, I am hearing His Word and not my words.
3. Emotional growth – this may seem like a silly one, but I think it will be the most difficult for me. I like to listen to what I call Norte Americano Booty Music. Mostly pop, with some rap and dance in there. This is not always the best thing to listen to, morally speaking. I have brought it up in confession a couple times, wondering about it, and have been told that it’s not so horrible of a thing. However, another priest has counseled that it’s not a good idea to invite sin into our lives (good plan). And since the message of the songs are all too frequently immoral and/or degrading, I am going to fast from this music. Since it is all-pervasive in society, I am technically saying that I will refrain from listening to this type of music if I have control over the music being played. For example, if I were shopping at the grocery store or something and one of these songs comes on, I’m not going to go running screaming out of the store. However, I am not going to seek out stores to shop in because I know that they do play this music. If I am, say, in a friend’s car, I would mention this to them, but then it is their choice to keep the music on or not — I’m not going to force my penance upon them. Until I have lobotomized my iPod (wiped all my booty music from it and replaced it with either good music, or more likely homilies and talks from my priests), I have removed it from my car. Needless to say, the radio’s either going to be off or on Ave Maria. 🙂
On a side note, there was an article in the weekly bulletin, mentioning these bracelets. Basically, every time you find yourself saying something unkind, or engaging in gossip, you need to switch the bracelet from one wrist to the other. Because you physically have to move something, it will help make you aware of that behavior. A friend suggested this as something we could do over Lent, like a spiritual exercise, not necessarily as our official Lenten penances. I upped the stakes by saying that we should track how many times we swapped wrists during the course of the day, and then at night say a decade of the rosary for every time we swapped, for the intention of the people we spoke against.
May all of you have a wonderful Lent, grow closer to our Lord, and soak up all the abundant grace which He provides to us in this time!