Comfort as we enter the desert: Knowing that Jesus has gone ahead before us, to conquer sin and death, and prepare the way; and knowing that He spent 40 days being tempted by the enemy , we can rest assured in His victory and take comfort in His grace as we now head out to the “barren lands’ to fast and pray.

It is not the enemy who is waiting for us there; but Our Savior! He will be our companion along the way.

Simplicity: Lent is a time of less (in order to have “more”), it is a time of cleansing and purging and pruning. With it, comes the opportunity to simplify our lives. We can trim the excesses and get back to basics. We can eat more simply, cut-back on our busy outside activities, and even simplify our personal routines by spending more time in prayer, enjoying silence, or going to bed a bit earlier than usual.

(If we get some extra sleep, we might consider rising a bit earlier, as well, and spending that extra time in morning prayer!)

Priorities: The Lenten Season beckons us to re-prioritize our lives and the state of our souls! It’s a good time to ask, “Is there something or someone that I’ve been placing before God? Is there something I need to let go of in order to grow stronger in faith and walk closer to Jesus?” As we open our hearts to the Lord, asking Him to purify us and prepare us for the coming celebration of Easter, we can take this time to surrender our lives to God; putting Him first and praying that He will guide us as we choose our schedules and daily activities.

Time to Fast and Pray: Christ told us that some things can only be healed and taken care of through fasting and prayer. Lent is a time of penance, a time of renewal, and time of sacrifice. Through the customs and traditions of the Church, we are given ample opportunities for prayer, fasting, and abstinence in order to decrease our desire for worldly things and increase our desire for God.

Personal Offerings: It is not so much about “what” we give up, but rather, the willingness of our heart and our level of joy in giving up something we enjoy in order to master ourselves and tame our desire for “things”.  In place of that which we are giving up for Lent, we can commit ourselves to practicing a certain virtue or habit that we would like to improve or increase in our spirits. As Christ gave His all, we too, can give of ourselves for His sake.

These next 40 Days are a gift to us all. Let us ask God to bless our journey ahead, to sustain and strengthen us along the way, and to prepare our hearts  (by allowing us to enter into His passion and death) for the coming of the great celebration of His Resurrection!

Copyright 2011 Judy Dudich