"The Great Lenten Resource Roundup" by Lydia Borja (CatholicMom.com) Via Pixabay, (2016), CC0 Public Domain


It's here! My very favorite season of the liturgical year: Lent.

What was that? you ask. Ashes and fasting and penance is your favorite!?! 

Yes! Ever since my conversion to Catholicism when I was a child in 1993, my heart has been drawn to the beauty of Lent -- the somber tone, the gorgeous liturgies, and yes, even the penance.

And each year as I've grown older, I see more clearly the Church's great wisdom in giving us a yearly spiritual wake-up call. Pope St. John Paul says it best:

"By inviting us through the discipline of Lent to tread the paths of love and hope marked out by Christ, the Church makes us realize that the Christian life involves detachment from superfluous goods, and the acceptance of a poverty which sets us free, and enables us to discover God’s presence and to welcome our brothers and sisters with an ever more active solidarity and in an ever wider fellowship."  // source

So what makes a good Lent?

The Catechism tells us that Lent is an "intense moment of the Church's penitential practice" and calls the faithful to spiritual exercises, pilgrimages, voluntary self-denial, almsgiving, and charitable works (CCC 1438).

In the Gospels, Christ urges us to "be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect," and to "take up your cross and follow Me." These commands are for every day of the year, but during Lent, we seek to fulfill them with greater fervor.

Traditionally, the three pillars of Lenten observance have always been prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The spiritual and corporal works of mercy are a great way to expand on these three.

Knowing what's expected of us, we may easily get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of it all -- our focus drifts towards doing Lent "right" and trying not to "fail." But here's where we do well to remember that the purpose of all the penance is to convert our hearts and to increase our love for God:

“Dear brothers and sisters, let us begin our Lenten journey with joyful confidence. May we feel deep within us the call to conversion, to 'return to God with all our heart,' accepting His grace which makes us new men and women." // Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

At its heart, the season of Lent is for renewing our souls through deeper, more humble, and more intimate contact with Christ and the Sacraments. If we can pray, fast, and work toward that goal, then it's a great Lent.

[tweet "Giant list of family-friendly resources for #Lent from @flourish_hope"]

Here are some resources to make Lent 2017 one of your best:

What is Lent?

Spiritual Practices:

What to Give Up?

For Kids



For the next 40 days, may we "tread the paths of love and hope marked out by Christ"!

Copyright 2017 Lydia Borja