Monday, February 23, 2004

Making the Most of the Holy Fast
There is one downside to Lent. I can have difficulty 1.) making up my mind what I am giving this up, 2.) why I am giving up a particular thing, 3.) how to remind myself what I committed to give up, and D.) consciously choosing the good from which this attachment has kept me.

But not any more. Using the powerful computer on my desk, I have devised a way to improve Lent for everyone. It’s called the Penance Grid. Here’s how it works.

On a piece of paper, draw a 3 X 3 box. Then above the horizontal line of the top three boxes write Body, Mind, and Spirit. Then next to the line of the vertical, left-side line write Pray, Fast, Give Alms. It will look something like this:
Body Mind Spirit


Give Alms

(Ah, isn’t it cute. It’s like the Hollywood Squares without dealing with Paul Lynde’s comments. Sorry, the computer displays the grid; Blogger doesn't)

Now, look at the first box. How does one pray with one’s body? It might lead you to be more regular about your prayer time and duration. Or look at the intersection of “Mind” and “Give Alms.” Perhaps you could give your mind a break and give up TV for the whole season of Lent. Think about how much solid spiritual reading and just plain interacting with others you would get in.

The point is NOT to fill in every square. The idea is to reflect upon what might be out of whack and attack those places. Then when you are done, tape it up prominently or put it a favorite prayer book/Breviary/Magnificat. Now you can encourage yourself and stay strong the entire season.

Hope this helps.

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