Dear Pope Francis,
The last few weeks I’ve been reflecting on what I want to do for Lent. I’ve been tossing around the idea of giving up meat again and being a vegetarian. Except I did that two years ago and I think I learned what I needed to from it.
I learned being a vegetarian is not a deal breaker for me and there’s a lot of really good food that doesn’t have meat. I also learned that unless I plan to be militant about when my meals happen and track my nutrients really well, I should probably not give up food.
This year I’ve been thinking a lot about my prayer life, and about what I do in my spare time. Now that I’m working in banquets instead of housekeeping, a lot of my shifts are probably going to be in the evenings. Without work to go to, a lot of the time I don’t leave the house. I stay in and read and job search online and play video games unless I have plans with friends.
My parish has mass at 12:05 most days. I’ve been thinking about going for a while, but I never seem to get around to it. So this year, my Lenten commitment is going to be to go to mass every day unless I have work when it’s happening.
When I was at the NET interview retreat on the weekend, we talked about how if you do not pray at specific times you cannot pray at all times. Until now, my specific time has been before I go to bed at night. My routine is to say “Now I lay me down to sleep” and then thank God for at least three things in my life that day and ask him for help with something the next day.
It’s been a really good exercise for me in terms of keeping the conversation going, and in the two years since I started doing it I’ve noticed I say a lot more little prayers during my day; prayers for friends when I hear about difficult situations in their lives, prayers for patience and understanding.
What I’ve skipped out on over the years is conversations with Mary. For the days when I do have work conflicting with mass, or when daily mass isn’t happening, I’m going to commit to praying the rosary.
Lent is a time of preparation for the joy of Easter and the knowledge that Jesus died on the cross for all humanity’s redemption. It’s easy to remember the things we say no to. All the rules saying don’t do this or don’t do that. But I think it’ll be a bigger challenge, for me at least, to remember to say yes. To take that hour of my day to say yes to going to mass, or yes to praying the rosary.
Jesus said yes to death on a cross, I can say yes to more prayer.
Rising again from ashes,