Confession is the most important of Serviam Ministries’ seven steps to maximize Lent. CNS photo/Kacper Pempel, Reuters

Seven Lenten steps to prepare for Christ

By 
  • February 28, 2015

Lent should be a time for Catholics to spiritually prepare for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection and less about forgoing materialistic things.

“When we think of Lent we think that we have to give up something and we’ve kind of lost that whole focus on the interior aspect,” said David Gilbert, president and founder of the Burlington, Ont.-based Serviam Ministries, formerly known as Catholic Chapter House. “Everyone says they are giving up chocolates or giving up TV or Facebook but that is very easy and that isn’t really preparing us for Christ. That is why we came up with these seven steps to kind of give people guidelines or a road map of what they can practically do during this time of Lent to better prepare themselves.”
Gilbert said the first step to maximizing your spiritual preparation during Lent is getting out of bed 30 minutes earlier than normal, ideally when no one else is awake.

“That way you are not interrupted and (can) spend that time reading passages from the Bible and praying about what you just read,” he said. “It kind of puts your day on the right footing.”

Step two, attend an additional Mass during the week. And to get the most out of this, Gilbert suggests as step three to do the day’s readings in advance.

“You’ll just be better prepared for Mass,” he said. “That way you can get more out of it.”

Drawing on what most think of when they hear the term Lent, Gilbert said rather than give up one single item it is better to focus on general fasting.

“So exercise temperance,” he advises as tip number four. “So eat less than you normally would. The Church says that fasting is one normal meal and then two snacks that would equal a single meal.”

In doing that Gilbert suggests as tip number five to forgo eating out during the 40 days leading up to Easter as well as putting off “non-essential” shopping.

“Just save that money that you normally would have spent on those non-essential items or restaurants and give that to the poor,” he suggested.

“Number six is just simplify your life. So just sitting down and taking stock of all the excesses in your life and just think of the ones that you can do without.

“We all say that we are busy but how many of those things that take up our time are really important?”

And although Gilbert put confession as the final of the Seven Ways to Maximize Your Lent, as the subscriber e-mail containing this information is called, he said number seven is the most significant.

“Go to confession, that is the most important,” he said. “We need to seek God’s mercy and make ourselves right before God. It all comes down to our love for Christ, our relationship with Christ, and this time of Lent is a time for purification and strengthening our spiritual life.”

Flavia Beriault, one of the subscribers to Serviam Ministries who received these tips on Ash Wednesday, said a reminder that Lent is about fasting, prayer and paying homage to Christ is something everyone can use.

“Sometimes we might be so busy that we forget what Lent is all about,” said the 31-year-old member of the Canadian Armed Forces.

“We need someone to remind us that we should go back to our Father, back to our God for He is a loving and forgiving God. As they wrote in the e-mail, ‘Don’t make this Lent like others’ I will try my best to make it like others, but try to spend more time with God and bring my family closer to God in the process.”

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