Today is the day to examine your life and decide what you’re going to give up for Lent. My suggestion is that we dig down deep. Giving up chocolate or gum or soda is a practice we do as children, but as adults, we should look to do more. But performing Lenten penance does not have to necessarily be giving up something. It can, and should be thought of, as doing something more. For example, let’s say you decided to cut your coffee consumption by two cups last Lent, and you successfully extended that to the rest of the year. You might want to dig deeper and give up a third cup this Lent. But you could also do something more. For example, you could pray for the Curia this Lent, that they choose a worthy successor to our German Shepherd. You could pray the rosary every day, if you don’t already. You could start praying the Liturgy of the Office (www.divineoffice.org). But that’s just one leg of a three-legged stool of Prayer, Fasting, and Alms. For fasting you can give up a food you like. Just remember that when you have fish on Friday, it’s not like you can eat lobster! 🙂 Or instead of giving up a food, you could replace one for another, or give up a lunch every week (or every day). For Alms, I know you possibly give money to your local parish, or some national organization, but consider making a special donation anonymously this Lent.
Regarding penances, our homilist today suggested that we use Lent to increase in virtuousness (good habits) or decrease in vices(bad habits).