This article first appeared on WINE: Women IN the New Evangelization.
What grand plans I make every Lent hoping to make each day jam-packed with spiritual practices!
- Morning prayer
- Scripture reading
- Daily Mass
- Family rosary
- Liturgy of the Hours
Along with those I throw in some weekly faith-filled goals.
- Lenten Book Club
- Stations of the Cross
I’m exhausted just writing these down. While I believe I should find ways to include all of these practices in my spiritual life, it’s probably not feasible to attend to each, every single day. Having a divine plan is important, not only for Lent but for every day. However, we also need to be flexible and gentle on ourselves when ambition and life collide.
WOULD JESUS LAUGH AT ME?
One of my absolute favorite lines of scripture is Proverbs (16:9), “The human heart plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.” You may be more familiar with the Yiddish version which says, “Man plans; God laughs.”
The Proverb speaks more clearly to how the Lord works in our lives. The Lord would never laugh at us. He is not mean or mocking nor would he ever laugh at our missteps or insufficiencies.
The Lord directs our steps because he is good, loving, and knows exactly what we need and where we need to go to reach our heavenly goals. Lent is a time when God directs our steps with a plan to focus on three essential areas of holiness prayer, almsgiving, and fasting.
We are consistently called to grow in our relationship with Jesus. Rest assured, you merely need to ask, and the grace will be provided to assist you. That includes helping you find the perfect way to bring prayer, almsgiving, and fasting into your everyday life.
HOW WINE HELPS ME GROW IN HOLINESS
At WINE, we have developed a beautiful way to help us all grow in our relationship with Jesus (and each other). The Read Between the WINEs book clubs add, in the most unique ways, prayer, Scripture, and sisterhood into our faith life.
The Lenten book club features a truly one-of-a-kind book, Walk in Her Sandals: Experiencing Christ’s Passion through the Eyes of Women. The Lenten WINE virtual book club launched on Ash Wednesday, and if you have missed it, be of good cheer there is plenty of time left to reap the spiritual rewards. Walk in Her Sandals, also happens to be the book that we do every Lent because as a book centered on Scripture, we can never exhaust the messages God has for us within its pages. As the Lord touches our life throughout the year, we are transformed so coming to Walk in Her Sandals will be different every single time.
We also have Read between the WINEs book clubs throughout the year, our next will begin in July and will be based on Alyssa Bormes’ Catechism of Hockey (not, by the way, a book about hockey but on growing in deeper appreciation of the Catholic faith), but more on that to come later.
SO WHAT ABOUT ALMSGIVING AND FASTING?
WINE has that covered as well. I cannot think of a better way of serving the poor (in spirit, that is) by supporting WINE’s nonprofit mission to provide new and authentic opportunities to quench the spiritually thirsty. We can best do that by becoming a WINE member — as a Sommelier, Aficionado, or Connoisseur — your support makes a real difference in the lives of women.
While fasting is never one of my favorite spiritual practices, I have found it to be one of the most fruitful. To help make my WINE membership contribution possible, I fast from grabbing a coffee every time I leave my house. A real sacrifice as I live, literally one minute, from a Dunkin Donuts (a New England staple). A small sacrifice for such a gigantic reward!
Lent is a time of renewal; you cannot fail at striving for holiness. Every step, no matter how small, brings you ever closer to God. Knowing I am blessed to be on this journey with my beloved sisters in Christ, definitely, sweetens the experience.
HOW WILL YOU SPEND THE REMAINING WEEKS OF LENT?
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I love that you point out that the Lord would never laugh at our attempts. Sometimes, I think the things we say to try to be lighthearted can be not-as-helpful as we hoped. I like the thought that God looks lovingly on all we try to do for him, then guides us to what’s best for us. Thanks for this!
I love that quote from Psalms . . . a new one to me! My Lent has also not gone as planned. There’s been plenty that’s happened for me to offer up, though, so I am taking that as God’s direction.