Lent begins in one week!

For Latin Church Catholics the beginning of Lent comes in one week with Ash Wednesday.

Are you ready?  Do you have a plan for your Lent?

Be prudent as you plan and don’t bite off too much at the beginning.  You can always add things – or omit them, if you get my drift.  If you not too disciplined, don’t try to much and then get frustrated if you fall down.  Baby steps.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. GoZagsGo says:

    Shout out to Richard Dreyfuss!

  2. CantareAmantisEst says:

    Thanks, Fr, for the timely reminder of how soon Lent is!

    Everytime Lent comes around I notice people tend to have the impression that it’s always and only about ‘giving up something’ — which is very meaningful, no doubt, but sometimes narrows our spiritual possibilities for the season. Quite often Lent is also a good time to do something new, and it can be as simple as reading a good spiritual book appropriate for Lent. The other day my confessor recommended that one could read books about the Passion, e.g. Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich’s Dolorous Passion, St Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love, just to name a few! Not sure if anyone else has other recommendations for good Lenten spiritual reading?

    (I also know a priest from Leicester who used Lent last year to learn the EF, and now celebrates it very regularly. I pray this happens more often!)

  3. jkm210 says:

    I am trying this reading plan: http://www.churchyear.net/lentfathers.html
    You can read it online, print it out, or download it to your Kindle like me!

  4. pharmgirl says:

    Thanks for the spiritual reading idea! I always struggle with what to give up for Lent. If you’re looking for a good Lent book or two, I recommend He Leadeth Me by Walter Ciszek and No Man Is an Island by Thomas Merton.

  5. I started planning and doing in pre-Lent, so to speak — and it’s all thanks to your spiritual bouquet idea, Father. Makes it a lot easier, I must say, since I’m one of those people who has a lot of trouble making new habits.

    And if you’re looking for Lent recipes, don’t forget that the world is full of Catholics who cook! Useful search terms: Cuaresma receta, Careme recette, Fastenzeit rezepte….

  6. Brooklyn says:

    The idea of Lent is to imitate our Lord who went into the desert for 40 days. That means austerity and mortification. It is a time for spiritual discipline, and as much as I have to admit I don’t look forward to it, I do know how very important it is. Yes, okay, it can involve doing something positive as opposed to “giving something up”, but I really think we need to keep in mind that Lent is about spiritual discipline, and plan accordingly. It use to be Church law to fast 40 days (Sundays omitted). I tried it last year, and it actually wasn’t too bad. I’m going to do it again this year as well. Fasting, of course, means you can eat 1 meal a day, drink throughout the day, and also have 2 small meals which do not equal 1 full meal (for me, I’ll eat an apple or something like that). Of course, you have to take any health matters into consideration.

    I also plan on doing more spiritual reading this Lent, all the things I never seem to get to during the rest of the year.

  7. JulieC says:

    “I’m baby steppin’. I’m doing the work! I’m not a slacker. Look it. Check it out… I’m in really bad shape. Come on! Please? Gimme! I need! I need!”

    —–Bob Wiley in What About Bob?

  8. Joan M says:

    Thanks, jkm210, for the link to the reading plan. I have downloaded the pdf file with the full texts and plan to follow it.

    So, i have my positive “to do”. I will also do a modified fast. It will do me good in more ways than one, as I have somewhat of an attachment to comfort foods.

  9. irishgirl says:

    I’m thinking of not buying the paper which I usually get every day, and using the money instead to send to a tradtional seminary and convent which I know.
    I might even think of putting in a quarter every time I go online (my laptop’s still in the shop-have very little money right now to pay for it, unless I sell some jewelry) and give the money to EWTN.
    But I seem to always ‘start out well and end badly’, as St. Teresa of Avila once said. I have the bet intentions to do something ‘special’ for Lent-all fire and flames, so to speak-and then I ‘bomb out’!

  10. Jenny bag of donuts says:

    Irishgirl, tell me about it. Me too.

  11. APX says:

    I always struggle with what to give up for Lent.

    Aye. I don’t really have anything extra I can just give up, and if I were to do the 40 day fast Brooklyn explained, I’d be eating more. I think I’ll work more on some of my vices, and continue in my spiritual growth.

  12. priests wife says:

    Byzantine Catholics start the Monday before Ash Wednesdays- so no Mardi Gras for us- Don’t be surprised if you see Eastern Catholics going to get ashes on Wednesday though; it feels like a solidarity thing.

    We are recycling the TV for Lent (and buying a small flat screen after Easter- just for DVDs)- we go meatless for Lent and vegan on Wednesdays and Fridays not including Sundays. It is doable (and flexible for the kids)- My oldest was proud of herself for not eating the pepperoni pizza (and not saying anything about it) at her Friday Shakespeare class last year- a small sacrifice for our Lord. Besides these things, I want to increase spiritual reading

  13. Mariana says:

    And then there’s always the penitential cleaning!

    I love to give up things for Lent! It is really liberating to work on accumulated less than wonderful habits.

  14. Dr. Eric says:

    After going meatless on Wednesdays and Fridays since last January, I am going dairy and egg free (as well as meatless) on Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent. I also plan to keep the Ember Days.

  15. Varda says:

    I give up all sweets of any kind for Lent and also I give up the Internet which is very hard but it does really let me focus and sort of calm my mind. I have pre ordered Pope Benedict’s book for my kindle so I will read that and I have Come be my Light which is about Mother Theresa on my kindle already, so I think I will read that one too. I also try to be more faithful to daily Mass and stations of the cross on Fridays in my parish.

  16. pkenny says:

    For those looking for good spiritual reading in Lent I highly recommend the Life of Fr William Doyle.

    Fr Doyle was an Irish Jesuit military chaplain who died in World War 1. He left behind remarkably comprehensive spiritual diaries which the author of his life had access to. Anyone with an interest in traditional Jesuit spirituality will love this book. Fr Doyle was also an ascetic of the first rank and the biography deals very comprehensively with the issue of mortification, a suitable topic for Lenten reading. While Fr Doyle’s extreme penances are not to be copied, he did write extensively about small mortifications. For instance, his diaries catalogue his struggles to give up butter on his bread at breakfast time. It is consoling to read how one so holy and so capable of great penance also struggled with small acts of mortification like this!

    You can read more about the biography at this link, and also find a link there where a reprint can be purchased.

    The book can also be read online for free here:

  17. Mark Pavlak says:

    Father, I would like to try your practice of reading His Holiness’ “Jesus of Nazareth” books in front of Jesus of Nazareth in the Blessed Sacrament.

  18. marthawrites says:

    Last year during Lent I gave up my twice weekly visits to Border’s and now look where they are: Bankrupt! This year along with my list of to-do’s, I think I’ll give up amazon.com So, readers, sell your stock now! I’m serious: not being able to browse through books and buy some is a true sacrifice. For years I’ve bought and read The Little Black Book, but those are pap and there is so much nourishing material to read Lent isn’t the time to waste on thin gruel.

  19. Jenny bag of donuts says:

    LOL martha! I have seriously felt sinful about all the books I’ve bought.

    For Lent, I’ll read “What Jesus Saw From the Cross” outloud to five noisy active little ones and a sleeping husband. I’ll also make the effort to pray a short Stations of the Cross each Friday aloud to five noisy active little ones and sleeping husband as I neglect that particular devotion throughout the rest of the year, sigh.

  20. Brooklyn says:

    APX – how do you eat more when you fast???? [Head Scratch]

    Thinking of what to give up for Lent is not difficult – the difficult part is doing it. All you need to do is think of something not directly connected with your spiritual life that you really love, and give it up! I for one would not give up the internet because I download the breviary from there every day, as well as the readings for the day, and certainly I don’t want to lose any connection with Father Z’s blog.

  21. Mariana says:

    “I think I’ll give up amazon.com ”

    So will I. Giving up buying books and yarn is very difficult for me! Also giving up reading good Catholic blogs!

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