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Already off track with your big Lenten plans? Charlene Rack says: be reasonable!

We entered into the season of Lent nearly two weeks ago. I always go into it thinking that this is going to be my “best Lent ever,” I’m going to pray and fast and make it to daily Mass and weekly Adoration, and make meals for my neighbors, and crochet baby blankets for the local pregnancy center, and … well you get the point. My idealistic plans are usually beyond my (often scant) measures of energy and time. That brings me to week three of Lent feeling like a spiritually sinking ship, and an all-out loser in general. In despair, I eat an entire chocolate bar, which I was supposed to be “giving up” for Lent. 

Most of the previous paragraph is written tongue-in-cheek, because, well, I don’t even crochet, but the serious part is, I do often cause myself to give up, because my lofty goals are insurmountable, considering my job, my writing deadlines, my babysitting gigs with grandchildren, my desire to hang out often with friends, and my ongoing health issues.

This year, I was inspired to make realistic Lenten goals. I’m sharing my personalized plan in an effort to help people like me who over plan, and then feel guilty when they can’t logistically fulfill their own promises made. Now that we’re this far into Lent, maybe it’s time for you to do a sensible reboot, too! 

Start small, but sincere, with your new game plan, then add on more if the opportunity arises. (But, don’t forget, we definitely need to follow through on the obligations that the Church lays out for us, so that we fulfill the sacrifices which The Holy Spirit calls us to through the guidance and teachings of our Catholic faith.) If you have a Catholic calendar, this is made easy by just looking for notations about when we must fast or abstain from certain foods, and when we should practice some penance.




This year, as Lent snuck up on me, like always, I prayed and meditated, and came up with a combo word processing/crafting poster that I placed near my Marian shrine, so I can’t miss it. Every day has the same list, and I only have to do one of them. You can see how I’m choosing one item a day and checking off that day. I chose my list based on inspiration, and on things that I struggle with on a regular basis.

My plan is, if I can bring these struggles to mind daily, and make the effort of avoiding, or incorporating, these actions during Lent (and offering up any difficulty or discomfort my sacrifice brings me), then I’ll begin new habits of thinking and acting that are more in line with how God wants me to be. (And I’m sharing my list, so you can see how personalized and doable I’ve made it!)

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My idealistic Lenten plans are usually beyond my (often scant) measures of energy and time.  #CatholicMom

My poster list: (check off one item daily) 
  1. Check on our elderly neighbor (who drives me crazy with her complaining.) A phone call counts! 
  1. Hold my tongue when I really want to give my opinion on something. 
  1. Put aside my iPad for 3 hours, and do something creative.
  1. When gossiping starts, tell people I’ve given up gossip for lent, and ask for a change in subject. 
  1. Spend a half hour or more in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. 
  1. Contact a friend that I haven’t spoken to in a while. 
  1. Visit a friend in need and brighten their day. 
  1. Pray a litany of some sort. 
  1. Witness to someone about the Catholic faith. 
  1. Go to Mass.



Copyright 2023 Charlene Rack
Images: (top, bottom) Canva; (center) copyright 2023 Charlene Rack, all rights reserved.