By Sister Maria Hughes, ASC

Today, we begin the Season of Lent, a holy time marked by prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These three traditional disciplines are paths to greater balance and wholeness in our spiritual lives.  While thinking about this season, I came across a little reflection by Jerry Welte about these three disciplines.

Here are his thoughts for Lenten practice, first published in “Words of Grace, Daily Reflections & Prayers for Catholics.”

Prayer:

  • Balance your spiritual life by integrating the body, mind and soul in your prayer life.
  • Enhance meditative prayer by “unplugging” from the TV, car radio, smart phone or other device.
  • Create space to hear God’s voice.
  • Increase the quality, not necessarily the quantity, of your prayer time.
  • Let your body express your prayer with yoga, Tai Chi, dance, walking, waiting.

Fasting:

  • Use your fasting, not to impress God with your discomfort, but to feed on the gifts for which you hunger most.
  • Let your fasting serve the lives of others as well as your own.
  • Fast from some of your private pursuits to become food for community and friends.
  • Fast from anger, blame and entitlement.
  • Feast on forgiveness, affirmation and the common good.

Almsgiving:

  • Give your time and talent.
  • Give what you would have spent on a movie or a treat to a charity.
  • Let your own poverty, whatever it may be, enrich the lives of others.
  • Give generously, not just from the leftovers, but from the “first fruits” of your table.