With a little over a month until Lent starts, I’ve begun thinking about what I am going to do to further my spiritual connection in that time with God. How many years past have I arrived at Ash Wednesday without a plan, thus setting myself up for a less fruitful 40 days. I am finding this with cooking for my new husband - if I don’t prep a meal plan for the week and go to the grocery store over the weekend, we arrive to Monday without anything in the fridge to cook and end up hungry (which is usually accompanied on my part with crankiness). Far too often we resort to scrounging through the pantry and eat granola and yogurt for dinner or spend money going out to eat when we hadn’t planned to. We need a plan.
I know that almost always, without a plan, I let time waste away or don’t take care of myself. As Catholics, we practice the 40 days of Lent (a lot of times I call it desert) with three aspects: Praying, Fasting. and Almsgiving. Each one of us must take this to prayer to see where God leads our hearts, where He is asking us to spend more time in direct connection with Him, where we can give something up to be closer to Him and how we can serve others with our alms.
This year, I had the idea to return to the beautiful prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours. When I lived with the Heart’s Home community in both Brazil and Brooklyn, we prayed Morning, Evening and Night Prayers. I have such a fond memory of starting and ending my days in prayerful communion with the whole Church. I took comfort in knowing monks across the world from me were praying the same words each day. I personally have been struggling to quiet my mind in prayer, always worried about the 1,000 things I need to do and need something rhythmic to enter into relationship with God.
Over the years, I have had a lot of people reach out to me asking how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Without having lived in community life, I never would have known myself. It can be slightly confusing and I’ve never taken the time to do videos to teach others. But I thought that this Lent was the perfect time to provide resources on how to use this beautiful resource that we have been given.