I belong to a faith tradition that makes no specific preparation for Lent within its practices.
It’s a relatively new thing for me to take note of Lent and consider how to prepare my heart for the journey.
And I’ve come to realise I cannot fully undertake it without surrender, intention and deliberation.
Life itself invites us into a gentle awareness of days and seasons of the heart, an opening to the sacred within the secular.
As nights draw in and days become dark and cold, we may gather dead, dry and dying plants together to make a bonfire. From the embers grey ash rises, ripe for garden mulch.
Ash is precursor to new life, new growth. A potent symbol of the dying and rising we experience within.
Likewise, Lent provides opportunity to sift out dead wood we’ve unwittingly gathered over time, consign it to death and seek the restoration and renewal God offers us through a transformed mind and heart.
Absent from this temple
is smudge and ash of grey
reminder of and reason
why our Saviour came
But deep within this heart
remains a cloak of black
as sin still crouches there
ready to ensnare, attack
Deeper still within this soul
shines a Light without limit
where God’s Love resides
bringing wholeness to my spirit
And as I journey forth
leaning closer into Lent
my value and my worth
become ever heaven-sent
I’ve also downloaded a pdf file: ‘Hungering for Life – Creative Exercises for Lent’ compiled by Christine Sine, with Jean Andrianoff. Here, contrary to the usual emphasis on fasting, we are being asked to consider what we are hungering for during Lent.
You can find myriad resources for Lent on the Godspace blog, including prayers, ways of celebrating with children, musical and creative resources. Click here to discover them. Ignatian Spirituality also has 10 great ideas for Lent here.
This preparation will hopefully lead to deeper reflection on new life rising from death rather than focussing most on loss and death itself.
The words below speak into our need to focus on the positive. They came from ‘Morning, Noon and Night – Poems and Prayers’ and can be found in various forms in Lenten reflections. I’d love to hear how you prepare for Lent and make space for Easter.
“Fast from criticism, and feast on praise.
Fast from self-pity, and feast on joy.
Fast from ill-temper, and feast on peace.
Fast from resentment, and feast on contentment.
Fast from jealousy, and feast on love.
Fast from pride, and feast on humility.
Fast from selfishness, and feast on service.
Fast from fear, and feast on faith.”