Groundhog Guidance

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Dear Groundhog,

I don’t know what to give up for Lent because I never stick to what I give up for Lent. This year I really want to stick to Lent and not fail. Any advice for what I should give up? Thanks!

Signed,

Lent’s Not My Jam

Dear Not My Jam,

The first thing to remember is that even when you stumble, you haven’t “failed” Lent. As long as you get back on the right track and work to grow closer to Christ, you’re doing great! The angels in Heaven rejoice over the repentant.

Frame your Lenten mindset about growing closer to Christ. Try adding things in addition to — or instead of — giving something up.

If you gave up social media, say a Hail Mary every time you go to open the app. If you gave up coffee or sweets, donate some of that money you would have otherwise spent.

Pay extra attention to prayers before meals instead of rushing through for that first bite. Really listen during the homily at Mass. Read the daily Bible readings.

Personally, I’ve started listening to the “Bible in a Year” podcast with Fr. Mike Schmitz as I get ready in the mornings which helps me to actually spend time meditating on Scripture.

Another practice I’ve found fruitful is making a concerted effort to thank God for something everyday or say a prayer when I get overly stressed.

Prayers like this can be really simple — heck, I thanked God for a great parking spot the other day — but adding little prayers like this throughout the day can help to center your life more on Christ.

I’ll admit I’m not perfect when it comes to Lenten practices. I still get distracted on my phone too much and need to speak more charitably, so don’t think I’m some paragon of virtue. 

The point is that we can all use help during the Lenten season, but if we focus on the true purpose of   giving things up, we can build up our relationship with Christ one sigh of gratitude for a great parking spot at a time.

Praying for you,

Groundhog

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