This morning Jess, Lily and I attended Mass at 8 am, in prior years having had to be at work at this point, I appreciated the privilege of being with my family and receiving the liturgical ashes and sacramental eucharist together. My wife and I are fasting today, having 1 main meal with fish and vegetables in the evening planned, a simple breakfast of cereal milk and yoghurt, then no snacks or drinks except water, lunch of cheese and pickle sandwiches (no meat), again no afternoon snacks and only water. Lily is exempt from this so will of course have her normal midmorning and afternoon snacks of fruit and biscuit/crackers. We normally only give her water anyways, no sugary fruit juices or drinks in the Ehrlich household!
Lent is a period of 40 days from today (excluding Sundays) leading to the Easter Triduum (3 days of Liturgical festival) of Maundy/Holy Thursday, Good Friday to Easter Sunday see here for more: https://www.catholic.org/lent/story.php?id=36022
During this period committed Catholics and all people of good will are encouraged by the Church to work together in acts of penance for personal sinful behaviour, almsgiving to the poor and needy in our wider communities, especially through practical works of mercy and charitable endeavour to feed, clothe, shelter and care for the ill, imprisoned, lonely, dispossessed, poverty stricken, disabled, elderly, weak and the young who are still dependent for basic needs – in short, if you’re privileged and blessed not to be in one or more of the above categories, can you assist in a real, tangible manner, one or more persons in this group – YOURSELF?
For myself this is a publicly visible commitment to spend at least 2 hours at an Abortion facility in Perth with the organisation 40 days for Life as a volunteer.
Finally and by no means least, we are encouraged to pray for one another, for the souls of the deceased and also for the great many people who reside outside the free gift of salvation offered by Our Lord and THE ONE WAY TO RECONCILIATION WITH THE ETERNAL FATHER, JESUS CHRIST! Praise be to God for the gift of persons choosing to enter the Catholic Church as Catechumens at this time.
If interested in more on this topic see here: https://www.catholic.org/lent/faq.php#prayer
The final aspect of Lent many are familiar with is ‘giving something up’ – for myself the aim is to give up specific negative behaviours that contribute to the burden on my wife in our family life, to strengthen our family unit and maintain resilience to the challenges of life. To her credit, my wife is aiming to give up caffeinated beverages this Lent (I’ve tried before, it’s definitely not easy – it’s a biochemical addiction!)
We also avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Healing: Penance, Confession or Reconciliation (all one thing) see here for more: https://www.catholic.org/prayers/confession.php
My wife and I prefer individual confession arranged with a Priest, privately over the offered ‘second Rite’ of individual confession but with a general absolution which many Catholic Parishes offer in major population centres in the modern era. The benefits of communal liturgical penance are real, however the depth of confession offered is lessened by the practicalities of serving as many as possible in the allotted time. It is a matter of individual conscience to consider which is best for you, your family and your communities.
May God bless us all and support our spiritual deepening of relationship with the Trinity and the angels and saints at this time above all, and always – Amen