In his Lenten message for 2014, Pope Francis takes inspiration from the words of St. Paul (Cor 8:9), and asks us to contemplate Paul's invitation to live "a life of evangelical poverty."
We can begin to embrace this call by fasting from or "giving up" material things, including foods, that are superfluous to our basic needs; "taking up" charitable habits that are directed to helping and caring for others; and "lifting up" our brothers and sisters who are in need through giving alms, praying and participating in devotional practices.
"In the poor and outcast we see Christ's face; by loving and helping the poor, we love and serve Christ."
Pope Francis, Message for Lent 2014
By taking an active approach to the three traditional pillars of Lenten observance, prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we recognize that to be evangelists, we must first be evangelized ourselves. Spiritual suggestions, along with inspirational words from Pope Francis and some of the saints who are remembered during the season on our downloadable Lenten calendar provide a daily reminder of your evangelical call.
This Lent, we also have urgent reason to focus prayer and attention on peace in the Holy Land, as our leaders work to resolve the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
PrayerPrayer roots our daily life in relationship with God and is an opportunity to deepen our commitment to the Christian life. This relationship gives us the strength to abstain and fast and receiving his generosity spurs us to be generous to others.
Fasting & AbstinenceBy fasting and abstaining, we create a place of emptiness or silence in our life for God to fill with his presence. It is an opportunity to recognize where we are weak and practice control over our passions and desires.
AlmsgivingThrough giving alms, we take on the needs of others and recognize that as a part of the Body of Christ, it is never just "me and God." We hope through this we becoming more trusting and dependent on God meet our needs rather than only relying on ourselves.
Days of Abstinence: No meat can be eaten on Ash Wednesday and all of the Fridays during Lent. This applies to all Catholics 14 and older.
Days of Fast: Only one full meal is permitted on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday for Catholics between 18 and 59. Two smaller meals are permitted, but the small meals should not equal a second full meal. Drinking coffee, tea and water between meals is allowed. Snacks between meals are not allowed.
As Catholics, we are encouraged me make the sacrament of Confession a more significant part of our spiritual life during Lent.
"God's Gift of Forgiveness: The Pastoral Exhortation on the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation"
A statement from the U.S. Bishops reminding us all of the gift of God's forgiveness that we receive in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The Stations of the Cross began as the practice of pious pilgrims to Jerusalem who would retrace the final journey of Jesus Christ to Calvary. Later, for the many who wanted to pass along the same route, but could not make the trip to Jerusalem, a practice developed that eventually took the form of the fourteen stations currently found in almost every church. Similarly, the 150 Hail Marys that were recited for the rosary were an adaptation of the medieval monastic practice of reciting the 150 psalms in the Psalter.
— From Popular Devotional Practices
Scriptural Stations Of The Cross - USCCB
The above stations of the cross are based on those celebrated by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991. They are presented here as an alternative to the traditional stations and as a way of reflecting more deeply on the Scriptural accounts of Christ's passion.
Lent in our Catholic Home - Elizabeth Clare Blog
A sweet blog post from a Catholic homemaker about how she helps her family enter into the lenten season.
Lent: Pray, Fast, Give Printable - Look to Him and Be Radiant
Use this free printable from Katie a Catholic teacher and DRE to help your family enter deeper into each aspect of lent.
Lectio Divina for Lent - USCCB
Lectio Divina is a form of meditation rooted in liturgical celebration that dates back to early monastic communities. It involves focused reading of Scripture (lectio), meditation on the Word of God (meditatio), contemplation of the Word and its meaning in one's life (contemplatio) and ends with prayer (oratio). For this Lent, we will have a Lectio Divina resource for the readings for Ash Wednesday and the Sundays of Lent that can be used by individuals or in group settings.
The Lentsanity App - FOCUS
During Lentsanity, you can expect the following:
Lentsanity puts all the resources of FOCUS' Lentsanity campaign in your pocket, AND with push notifications before lunch and dinner, it will remind you to not eat meat on Fridays during Lent.
Blessed Is She Daily Devotionals
This inspirational online a community of like-minded Catholic women supports each other through beautiful images and daily reflections on scripture. You can follow them on instagram @blessedisshe or subscribe to have daily reflections come straight to your inbox.
Life Teen Blog: Lent
Teens can find great reflections and challenges for how to enter more into lent.
Best Lent Ever 2017 - Dynamic Catholic
Sign up for Best Lent Ever, a FREE, video-based email program featuring internationally acclaimed speaker and New York Times bestselling author Matthew Kelly. From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, Matthew will help you identify what stands between you and happiness . . . and what to do about it. Are you ready for your best Lent ever?
Read a Spiritual Book
Lenten Prayer Chain
Lenten Prayer Cards
Lituny of Humility
Divine Mercy Chapelet
Renewal of Baptismal Commitments