Intentionality!!! What is intentionality? According to good ole Webster, intentionality means to be deliberate or purposeful. Thus, my challenge to you this Lenten season…Be intentional!
I think it is important that we look at Lent and talk about what it is, and what it is not! Let’s start by talking about what it is not. Lent is NOT a retry at a failed New Year’s Resolution. It is not a new health plan, though fasting and abstaining can certainly be part of your lent. It is NOT meant to be a time where we give something up for 40 days, just to return, more indulgent after Easter arrives. It is NOT a time to become outwardly pious and religious creating a “look how holy I am” appearance.
So, what is Lent? Lent is a time of preparing our hearts to meet the Resurrected Jesus. It is a time for us to turn away from sin and cling closer to our Lord and Savior. It is a time to, if necessary, make changes in our habits, that make us better and holier people…not to return to old ways after Easter comes. In 43 years, the best description I have ever heard of lent is this: “To become holy, more intimately aligned with God in our lives, giving yourself more fully to those in your life God is calling you to be with, be it spouse, children, friends, etc!”
Lent is going to look different for each of us…It is a spiritual journey to our own holiness. I know my lent looks vastly different than the lent of my dearest friends, and it should. I have failed miserably and used lent as a weight loss plan in the past. I have joked about giving up work, chores, etc. I even have a Good Friday, from when I was in college, that I ate filet mignon, which I WILL NEVER LIVE DOWN!!! Obviously, the season of lent has not always been as important to me as it is today…Today, I would call it my favorite liturgical season. In the last few years, I have really spent time discerning where I need to grow closer to Christ and areas I can grow in holiness. If I “give something up,” I offer that fast for a different person each day of lent. This sacrifice for other people has made fasting so much more meaningful for me and has brought me out of myself and into the lives of others. It truly has been beautiful. This year I realized that I have done a whole lot of talking in prayer, and not as much listening as I should…Guess what? This year I am focusing my lent on being a better listener! I truly am trying to be intentional!!!
Those of us who are married, those of us who have families, I challenge you to do something to grow in holiness together. That can look different for each family: Maybe your family is so busy and eating a family meal together is difficult, try to incorporate family meals together throughout this season, talking about something related to the faith. Maybe your family is so busy looking at screens when you are home together, try to have an hour each day of screen free time…play a game together, read Scripture together, pray a Chaplet of Divine Mercy together. (Found Here: Chaplet of Divine Mercy) Nothing you do has to be huge, it just has to bring a bit more holiness to your day and your family…which is why we must be intentional!
My prayer for you all this lent, is that these next 40 days of praying, fasting, and almsgiving will be one of intentionality, and that in the end, you become a holier person, who is more in line with the will of God in your life!