We’ve almost made it through the desert! Our mouths, minds and bodies are ready to devour whatever we have hungered for as a sacrifice these forty days. We think it’s over — on to Easter Sunday and back to the life I lived before Ash Wednesday. Unlike most people who have given up a food or practice for the past 40 days, I chose to try some new ways to pray using technology. My goal this Lent was when I reached Holy Week that I would be changed and would yearn for more of what I experienced and not be so eager to get back to what I gave up.
So this year the first thing I decided to try to draw me closer to God was to download an app called Hallow that took me through a 40-day challenge. Each week on Monday I reflected on a Christian Meditation, on Tuesday I reflected on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, on Wednesday, different prayer meditations included Taizé and lectio divina, Thursday the focus was on the examen, Friday was the meditation of the Stations of the Cross, and Saturday was a reflection on the Sunday Gospel reading. The app even has a little gamification element to it that allowed me to set a streak and fireworks went off when the streak was achieved.
The next thing I did was to sign up for a daily video reflection from Dynamic Catholic’s Best Lent Ever that went to my email every day. Listening to a daily reflection and responding to a question about some aspect of my Christian living has helped to deepen my need to be focused on the word of God each day.
My pastor, Monsignor John Barry, also shares a one minute video message on the reading of the day that is uploaded to our American Martyrs Parish YouTube channel. I subscribe to the channel, so a link to the video shows up in my email too. Msgr. Barry lifts a theme from the reading to frame it in a more contemporary context and challenges us to do something in response to the message he’s shared.
I also took part in the Busted Halo picture challenge for Lent on Instagram. It was such a mindful practice and like a scavenger hunt for the faithful. From sharing my ashes to windows about faith helped me to share my Lenten journey on my social media.
So some of you might think, “Wow! That’s great, but I don’t have that kind of time.” The thing is it was so easy and convenient, most of my practices were less than 10 minutes. Some took as little as 5 minutes. I started my day every morning of Lent listening to Best Lent Ever and my pastor’s minute message. As I moved through my day, around lunchtime I would read about 10 pages of the books I was reading or do my Hallow App practice of the day. At the end of the day, I would post my Busted Halo picture. My spiritual journey also included physical journeys that I had to incorporate all these practices on the road — still, I got it done!
This year I didn’t give up anything for Lent — but I gained some perspective on the importance of committing to daily prayerful practices. While some of my practices will end this week there are others that will continue and I’ll cultivate new ones. I reached my goal of yearning for more of what I’ve experienced during my Lenten journey. What about you?
Copyright 2019 Sherry Hayes-Peirce