Do you see Lent as a time of restrictions and suffering or do you see it as a gift, a time to reflect deeper into what we truly ought to believe, what we truly ought to desire, and what we truly ought to do?
First, we must find silence from internal and external “noise,” a silence that will allow us to listen to our internal dialogue as well as our dialogue with God—with emphasis on listening.
St. Thomas Aquinas said that there are three things necessary for man’s salvation: to know what we ought to believe, to know what we ought to desire, and to know what we ought to do. There’s a clear connection between these three things to the three pillars of Lent. Prayer is related to believing, fasting is related to desiring, and almsgiving is related to doing. So Lent is not only a time of reflection but of action that brings us closer to our salvation.
“Credo in unum Deum”—belief in one God should lead to constant conversations (PRAYER) with Him and our intercessors, especially Mary. Perhaps, this is the time to add another “prayer habit” to your routine, such as a Family Rosary or saying the Litany of Humility.
When it comes to FASTING, follow the rules of the Church regarding fasting and abstinence, and also fast from things that are difficult to give up (not just something you ought to give up anyway), exercising and training the will.
Lastly, we ought to GIVE ALMS, giving money, goods, and services to those in need. For our little children, helping around the house beyond their expected chores is a way to “give alms.” Seeing their parents working (cooking, cleaning, etc.) at home should spark a willingness in them to take action and help out, not begrudgingly, but with joy in their servant’s heart. We need to train them early to respond to the call of service with “Yes, mom, HAPPY to do it!” so that they will later be ready and able to say, “Yes, Lord, HAPPY to do it!”
May you all have a blessed, silent, reflective, and joyful Lenten season resulting in actions that lead us closer to eternal happiness.
Co-founder, Aquinas Learning
Director, Aquinas Learning Manassas Center