It’s already the first Saturday of Lent – maybe you never settled on a devotion or spiritual discipline to take on this Lent, and you’re feeling awkward or ashamed or defeated. But fear not! It’s not too late. It’s never too late: as my pastor preached on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season for starting over… over and over again. Every day can be a new fresh start, a new turning away from sin and towards our merciful God.
So if you haven’t settled on anything yet, or if you’re looking for something to expand your spiritual practice, this post is for you.
Longtime readers of this blog know I’m a big fan of Lent Madness, a March Madness-style bracket matchup of 32 holy men & women competing (via our daily online votes) for the Golden Halo. It’s organized by the Episcopalians, so not all the saints are formally recognized by the Catholic church as “saints”, but this makes it a wonderful opportunity to learn about some faithful Christians that we Catholics may never have heard of. It is also more than a little bit irreverent, so it’s not for everyone. That said, I highly recommend the weekday* discipline of reading about the two saints, voting in the poll, and reading the comments, where people may share their reasons for voting (and there are no wrong reasons) and reflect on the lives of the saints.
On a more serious note, the Ignatian Solidarity Network is running a very important blog series. Lift Every Voice: A Lenten Journey Towards Racial Justice features a brief daily reflection on the sin of racism in America, with questions for reflection and an opportunity for comments. There’s also a hashtag #ISNLENT for continuing the conversation elsewhere in social media.
This is one I’m starting late myself, but I’m very grateful to see a Catholic conversation about what has been justly called “America’s original sin”, and am particularly looking forward to reading the reflections of Dr. M. Shawn Copeland, a renowned Black Catholic theologian, one of several contributors to the series. I encourage all my readers, especially my fellow white Christians, to join me in taking on this daily discipline of reflecting on a grave sin from which we need to turn away, individually and collectively, in the church and in civil society.
Both devotions offer email signups, so they can helpfully appear in your inbox, with links back to the blog so you can participate there as well if you wish. (aka How modern technology can make it easier for you to be faithful to your Lenten disciplines — do we have it good, or what? :) )
I invite you to share any other Lenten practices, disciplines, or resources in the comments. Because it’s never too late! Someone else might find spiritual nourishment in what you share.
In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, I wish you all a blessed, holy, and fruitful Lenten season. Thanks be to God!
*Lent Madness is a weekday series except for today! The first Saturday of Lent is included to make the numbers come out right. Vote today for Cyril or Methodius… after learning more about these two brothers from the ninth century who were very influential in shaping the Slavic church.