Resources for Lent – Featured Website of the Day: ChurchPOP (Five Hardcore Things to Give up for Lent)

As the season of Lent approaches, you’ve no doubt given some thought to what you want to give up. Rather than taking the path of least resistance, why not consider going all out and giving up something completely ridiculous this year?

The following fasts may not be for the faint of heart, but for those of you who are willing to try them, you may just find yourselves more disciplined, and better prepared to celebrate the joys of Easter.  Look to see what ChurchPOP suggests as hardcore things to do for Lent by clicking here.

Direction: What do you want to do with your life? Homily for Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Direction.  Where are you going?  What are you doing?  What do you want to do with your life? You may not remember these lyrics from Twisted Sister’s song, “We’re not gonna take it”, but I think they provide an interesting thought at the start of Lent.  What is it that you want your life to be about?  What do you want to become?  What are you hoping for in life?

The readings today for Ash Wednesday help us to understand the path to happiness.  The path to happiness is one done first between God and oneself first.  We cannot be concerned about what others think.  Do not appear to be fasting.  Go to your room and pray in silence.  Be generous without seeking approval from others.  Why is there such emphasis in today’s gospel about silence and solitude? Because it is so easy to allow ourselves to seek happiness in a way that depends on what others think about what we do.

It is easier to ignore others if we are surrounded by people we like who do the same.  It is easier to join the “rat race” to wealth when we are in a culture that values such pursuits.  It is easier to seek illicit pleasures like pornography when we are behind the safety of a computer screen, convincing ourselves that “everyone does this” and that since I am behind a screen and not with someone else it does not harm anyone.  It is easy to cast aside other people as “other” when I do not know immigrants, or refugees, or Muslims, or Democrats or Republicans, or blacks, or whites or Hispanics.  It is easier to avoid confronting myself if I keep myself so busy I never have to embrace silence in a noisy world.

The first reading also provides us with the guidance about the purpose of Lent too.  Lent is first about an invitation.  The prophet Joel says, “return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning.”  Why should we do this? For God is “gracious and merciful . . . slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.”  Regardless of what choices we have made in life, there can be forgiveness from God for the repentant heart.  We can heal brokenness we have caused.  We can heal actions that have used others.

But do not wait.  As Saint Paul reminds us, salvation is offered today.  “Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.”

Resources for Lent – Yikes! Lent starts tomorrow! What do I do?

Over the past few weeks, The DePorres Pages website has been posting things you might consider for this Lent.  This list will continue to be updated over the course of Lent.  One addition will be the Lenten Resource of the Day, a suggestion about what you might do or where you might go for spiritual growth this Lent.

Also, all of the resources for Lent can be accessed by going to the Menu item at the very top of the page, “Resouces for Lent.

Remember that the overall goal of Lent is to become closer to God.  And we know that to be closer to God also means loving our neighbor more.  It seems like People, even me, are just so angry these days.  Remember that the life of faith is about a peace that surpasses understanding.  Hopefully, by focusing on the goals of Lent, prayer, fasting and almsgiving, you will be brought closer to this peace.  Happy Lent!

To access the complete page of Lenten resources, click here.

Resources for Lent – Life Teen 20 Weird Things to do for Lent

What to Give Up for Lent: 20 Weird Ideas

Ready to move beyond just giving up chocolate? Last year we gave you 25 Creative Ideas for Lent. This year, I thought it’d be fun to expand upon that list.

Except, if you know us at Life Teen, you know we like to make things a bit… well… more interesting. So here’s a list of weird things to do for lent. The best part is that even though they’re a bit odd, they will actually help you to be holy!

To see the list, go to the Life Teen website.

Resources for Lent – Busted Halo

Ash Wednesday in Two Minutes.  Looking for a quick way to explain Ash Wednesday to your friends? Look no further than Busted Halo’s two-minute video that describes the day which begins the season of Lent, and why Catholics and many Christians receive ashes on their foreheads.

Why do we give up something for Lent? Lent, the period of 40 days that precedes the celebration of Easter, has its origin in the early days of the Church. Converts seeking to become Christian, who at that time were mostly adults, spent several years in study and preparation. Under the threat of Roman persecution, becoming a Christian was serious business, so their process of preparation was intensive! Then they went through a final period of “purification and enlightenment” for the 40 days before their baptism at Easter. The rest of the Church began to observe the season of Lent in solidarity with these newest Christians. It became an opportunity for all Christians to recall and renew the commitment of their baptism.

25 great things you can do for Lent.  Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the 40 days of preparation for the Easter season when Christians are called to deepen their spiritual lives through the practices of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. The belief is that our consistent participation in these practices — like exercise we do for our physical health — improves our spiritual well-being by stripping away all that is unnecessary and becoming more mindful of how God is working in our lives. Challenge yourself this year, and go beyond the usual practice of “giving up” something. Now is a great time to take stock of your spiritual life and to grow in it. Not sure where to start? Check out these 25 ideas.

Holy Week in Two Minutes.  Want to know why Catholics wave palms on Palm Sunday; wash each other’s feet on Holy Thursday; or kiss the cross on Good Friday? Look no further than Busted Halo’s® two-minute video that describes the final week of Lent we spend preparing for Easter.

Virtual Stations of the Cross.  The Stations of the Cross is a devotion following the events leading to Jesus’ crucifixion. Prayers accompanying it allow time to reflect on the mystery of his death. Originally the Stations of the Cross was an actual physical journey in and around Jerusalem. Later the series was symbolized in outdoor shrines, and today many parishes display artistic representations in their sanctuaries. The Stations of the Cross may be done at any time, but is commonly a part of Lenten spiritual practice, specifically on Good Friday.

Busted Halo® has created a series of virtual stations designed for personal devotion. These stations relate to Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of God and the reason his vision of this Kingdom led to his death. Find a quiet place to watch these stations, and as you do the devotions be open to how God is speaking to you through the Stations of the Cross.

What are the Stations of the Cross?  The Stations of the Cross (sometimes also called the “Way of the Cross” or Via Crucis, in Latin) are a traditional devotion tracing the events on the way to Christ’s crucifixion. The devotion has its roots in the practice of pilgrimage to Jerusalem, especially to sites along the way to the cross. In the fifteenth century, as it became difficult for Christians to visit Jerusalem, the Franciscans began to erect outdoor shrines in Europe to recall these holy places, and in later centuries the devotion took root throughout the entire Church.

Go into the desert this Lent.  Looking for a way to “do” Lent a little differently this year? We’re inviting you into the desert: a quiet place with less of us and more of God. The desert offers solitude as well as temptation. And it means something a little different to everyone. Watch this short, meditative video that will help you wander into your own desert this Lent.

2017 InstaLent Photo Challenge.

Need a creative way to add some spiritual reflection to your day-to-day this Lent? Our InstaLent photo challenge is back and better than ever.

First, March 1 is Ash Wednesday. So that means: Show us your ash! We want to see your Ash Wednesday ashes — big, small, short, tall. Snap a photo and tag it #showusyourash and #BHLent2017.

Next, continue with the Busted Halo InstaLent Photo Challenge throughout the Season of Lent (until Easter). Lent is a time to reflect and draw closer to God, so we hope to do just that with the creative ideas for photo-sharing we’ll provide each day. Get ready, and get creative! Your Instagram feed is about to look a whole lot like Lent.

How do you participate?

  • Share our InstaLent image (below) on Instagram so we know you are participating in the challenge.
  • Take a pic following our theme of the day and tag #BHLent2017 and @bustedhalo on all your posts.
  • If you’re not on Instagram, no worries! You can still participate in the fun by uploading your Lent photos to Twitter or Facebook and use #BHLent2017 #BustedHalo and mention @bustedhalo.

We can’t wait to see your photos! May your journey through Lent be an enriching experience.

Notice me, God! Homily for Friday, February 12, 2016

Readings for Today (web page)

Readings for Today (audio)

Notice me! Watch me! I am doing something good! I want my reward! Do we enter into the spirit of Lent by seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus, or to get extra credit for doing something good? Do we seek to enter more into prayer, seek to fast from indifference, and give alms to the poor, the triangle of good things, or do we try to do something else? The prophet Isaiah has challenging words from God about the type of fasting we should be doing.

Pray. Fast. Give.

In his Lenten message for 2015. . . , Pope Francis asks us to “make our hearts firm” (Jas 5:8) and to be “merciful, attentive and generous.” Embrace his call to mercy by reaching out to those in need.  Be attentive to the Lenten call to prayer; be generous with your time and treasure.

“Through prayer, charity and humility before God, people receive a heart “which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference,” Pope Francis says in his Lenten message. Lent begins February 18 for Latin-rite Catholics.

Raise Up. Sacrifice. Offer.

Read more here.