Did Lent sneak up on you? Here are some tips.

Blessed waning Carnevale (the correct spelling, as it translates as “Meat, goodbye” carne vale). As such, it is a Catholic celebration when properly observed, and it lasts for weeks, not just one day. Alas, most of us no longer really say goodbye to meat/eggs/butter for all of Lent, as used to be required of all the faithful. Being a Keto/no carbs person for over 20 years, I am thankful for that.

Another thing that used to be required was actual fasting. As in, days with zero food. If you have never done it, you really should. It’s not even hard, especially when there are only two days when it is currently required. Examine your conscience; do you really think fasting means three meals a day, as the current discipline suggests?

Zero. Just do it. Once you’ve done it once, you will actually look forward to it. Come back and call me a liar if I’m wrong.

It would be different if it were multiple days or weeks in a row of course, in which case some sustenance would be needed. But for ONE day, come on. Zero calories, folks. Water, coffee, and no-calorie electrolytes are okay. It really is a fine way to start off towards your Lenten goals. Note well, those latter two things DO violate the Eucharistic Fast, which allows only water to be taken.

Speaking of goals, commit to them in writing. Post them on your fridge or some other prominent place. Here are some things that have been going through my head:

Commit to a limited number of things you will practice DAILY. Needless to say, this starts with the Rosary. If you can commit to daily Mass, it is highly recommended. Daily Mass in the TLM is really special during Lent, because each day has its own proper Mass, every single day of Lent. It is like being on a journey. Rosary and Mass, and we are now committed to one hour per day.

Now stop. Before you go further, do NOT attempt to take on the workload of a cloistered religious. You will fail, probably by the end of the week, get really discouraged, and be off to a rotten Lent. Instead, start small, and add things if you are able. Make your list aspirational, for sure, but start out smaller.

What about other structured prayer? Last year I did Benedictus and Divine Intimacy every day. This year I am moving mental prayer up the priority list, putting Adoration first. If you have never sat in quiet conversation with our Lord, or if it has been a long time, maybe try to get back to it. 15 minutes after Mass is a good place to start, but getting the solid hour once a week is where the heavy lifting gets done. The most effective way to do this is attempt to converse for the first 30 minutes, then shut up and listen for the next 30. He speaks in whispers.

Next on my list are books. How big is that stack of books you ordered, but haven’t read yet? It’s embarrassing. Constantly confessing wasting too much time on the internet, yet that stack hasn’t gotten any smaller. I am doing something about that this Lent.

There are still a few hours left, and I still have a few more things I’m mulling. Leave your best ideas in the combox!

Two more resources on fasting HERE and HERE.

Blessed Lent, everyone.

8 thoughts on “Did Lent sneak up on you? Here are some tips.”

  1. Read the Book of Job, or at least the first and last five chapters. I’ve found this quite profitable. Also, consider the Total Consecration to Mary leading up to March 25th, the Annunciation.

  2. Listen to Father Z’s Daily Five Minute Lenten Podcasts. Filled with history, Scripture and music, Father does a laudable job of enriching the season for his flock.

    Build or add to your home prayer shrine. Employ statuary of saints, reproductions of sacred art, devotional literature, candles. Offer flowers to our Virgin Mother Mary on her feast days. Amazon sells a lot of Catholic wares. If possible, have your artifacts or shrine blessed by a priest. In this way, you are giving glory to God in your little corner (literally) of the world.

  3. I always started Lent strong and finished a total wreck by the end. The six days a week of one meal a day would leave me babbling/weeping in the confessional just before Easter. A ketogenic diet has changed that tremendously as I very often eat only one meal a day as a norm now. I don’t know what else to do this year except extended fasts. So…Wednesday through Friday no food at all. I dislike fish (some Catholic 😂) so maybe this will work. AMDG!

  4. By Anne’s logic, no one could have eaten anything until Easter (except on Sundays) when the Lenten fast was forty days. She is over-the-top here.

        1. Why not just keep the fast that was in effect prior to VCII for those 21-59? Fast days are all the days of Lent except Sundays. On fast days you can have one full meal including meat (except on Fridays which are days of total abstinence) and two lesser meals which cannot equal the amount of the one full meal. You should speak with a priest if you are unable to fulfill the duties of your state in life on that diet or it is endangering your health. One way to determine if you are fasting is if you are hungry when it comes time for the next meal.

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