As usual, I spend more time planning than doing and Lent is no different. I've downloaded no fewer than 5 apps for Lent. When you add in the handful of books, there is no way to read and do ALL of it. To make things easier, I've decided to narrow it down to one for each of the three pillars of Lent -- prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
Morning - Fasting
Magnificat Lenten Companion 2015 app - $1.99
While fasting is only required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, it used to be done on all Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent. Whether you decide to fast from food or something else (like social media), feast on God's word in its place!
My favorite app for reading God's word is the Magnificat Lenten Companion 2015 app. The Lenten app is set up in much the same way as the Advent companion. It includes the Mass readings and prayers for the day, plus the prayers for morning, evening, and night just like the regular Magnificat does. The prayers include Psalms and other Bible readings. Plus, it includes a daily meditation and various other resources appropriate for Lent.
Midday - Prayer
Via Crucis - $1.99
Because I have small children, we do not attend Friday Stations of the Cross during Lent. They are always at bedtime. But I do like to pray the Stations of the Cross. Via Crucis is a traditional version of the Way of the Cross featuring classic works of art and a short meditation from St. Francis of Assisi. It includes all the prayers, too. The only drawback is that it's missing the verses of Sabat Mater. I love that part! While most of us do not have time to pray all 15 stations, almost everyone has time to pray one station a day.
Evening - Almsgiving
CRS Rice Bowl - Free
The CRS Rice Bowl project has been around for as long as I can remember. Now they have a free app that can help make the rice bowl project a little easier. This free app from Catholic Relief Services has a short devotion for each day, a video about CRS projects around the world plus a recipe for each week, and you can also track your giving through the app.
Almsgiving through the app is a bit tricky at first. You need to set a goal. Then, you need to make a pledge. You can pick an amount, or choose from things like having given up a candy bar or a take-out pizza with suggested values. Once you've pledged them, they are available to donate. Clicking donate opens your browser to a secure website where you can pay via credit card or PayPal.
The only thing I wish this app had is the old donation suggestions for each day, like $.10 for each window in your house or something like that. The kids really enjoyed that. :)
Do you forget to abstain from meat until after its too late on Fridays? Among other things, Lentsanity has a "Meat Police" reminder so you don't forget :). Thanks to Sarah Reinhard for sharing this one!
Incidentally, having three items works pretty well because most people eat (at least) three times a day. If you spend 15 minutes eating, could you not spend 5 minutes feeding your soul, too?
How will you be observing the 3 pillars of Lent this year?
Copyright 2015, Jen Steed
Art/photography: Jen Steed, All Rights Reserved.
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