There are many things we do during Lent as preparation... fasting, meditating on Christ's passion and our own mortality, doing without certain expressions of rejoicing such as "Alleluia," and many other similar practices connecting to the Catholic Liturgy. However, each of us as individuals has personal shortcomings or spiritual ambitions. To get the most out of Lent, we should do something different in our personal lives that we think will be beneficial for us. Also, by adopting Lenten penances we can more thoroughly rejoice at Easter.
It is also important to remember how important it is to keep these promises. Consequently, we must remember never to make promises we aren't likely to be able to keep. The main reason it is so important to keep these promises is our own personal motivation. We need to see that we can persevere and improve ourselves with God's help. It is also our chance to show Him that we really do love Him.
Here are some ideas for Lenten Promises which may help you during your search for a vocation.
- Cut some strings--find some things which may be hindering your relationship with God and simply do without them. These can include: various amusements, such as tv; responsibilities to which you are attached, such as blogging; contact methods on which you spend too much time, such as facebook or IM; or gaming.
- Spiritual Reading--now is the perfect time to increase your knowledge of God and spirituality. Take some time for Lectio, read a spiritual or religious book, study a particular saint or spiritual concept...
- Personal Prayer--maybe you do not spend enough quiet time with God or are lacking in your prayers. Make a special effort to pray in silence (no music), meditate, follow a structured prayer schedule, include some special devotion to your daily or weekly prayer life... if possible, receive the sacraments more often.
- Selflessness--perhaps you spend too much time worrying about yourself and your own life? Choose a friend, or perhaps a few friends, and try to show a genuine interest in them. Help them through corporal or spiritual works of mercy. Examples would include praying for them, offering advice, making them feel good about themselves, consoling them, etc.
- Spiritual and Temporal Industry--get yourself up and doing things. Try working around the house, or manual labor elsewhere, you'll build up qualities you didn't even know existed. Take an active approach at seeking your vocation, don't be afraid of it. Take an active interest into growing spiritually by performing some virtue or combating some vice. Don't let Lent pass you by, make it count!
- Fast and Abstain--if you find yourself to be overly fond of food, or in need of some chastisement, go beyond the requirements of the Church. Engage in eating candy and sweet things only on Sundays and eat less between meals.
- Examining Your Conscience--Make an effort to concentrate on your own shortcomings, whatever they may be, and overcoming them. Go to confession, make daily examinations of conscience, and focus on specific vices to overcome. It is important to come to some self-understanding concerning our faults, and this is the perfect time to try!
- Make broad resolutions--there is no better time than Lent to make broad resolutions for your whole life. For instance, firmly resolve to seek God in everything you do and to strive to never sin again.