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Lent is a time of year to focus on Repentance, Reflection, Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. I believe that if you really strive to work on all five of those things, you will get a lot out of Lent and feel a lot better about your spiritual life. Repentance is a big one, you repent every time you receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. From my own personal experience, I can tell you with full honesty that going to confession is like taking the best hot shower of your life. You are washed away of all sin with six words, “I absolve you from your sins.”
This gives me the hope that if I hear those six words very frequently, I’ll have a pretty good shot at heaven. Reflection is what you do before Reconciliation and often at random times every day. It can sometimes bother me when I look back on the past days, weeks, and months and think about all the sins I’ve committed. But I always remember that God can and will always forgive you. This is my conscience bothering me and letting me know that right around now would be a great time for a Confession.
Talking to God Can Be a Struggle
To be honest, I’ve always struggled with prayer in my life. I find it challenging to just say a simple Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be before bed. Prayer is one of the things I believe a lot of us can work on in our own lives. With all the distractions of this world (phones, snapchat, computers) it is very difficult to just be in God’s presence and thank him for all the good things he has given us and done for us.
One of the routines I’m trying to develop is going to the Chapel some mornings or after school and be with God. I occasionally put on my favorite Christian music, look at a few different prayers, or just simply relax and be with him.
I’m sure most of you are fasting from something for Lent, and I’ll be honest, that’s what I struggle with the most. Taking something out of my routine is very hard for me to do and often fails. The first idea I had was to try and not have any cafeteria food. That ended around three hours after I started. One of the virtues we need for fasting is perseverance. Jesus went 40 days without any distractions (except for the devil) and succeeded. His example proves we can do the same if we just persevere.
It is Good to Be Generous
Almsgiving is giving part of your possessions to the poor and those in need. I challenge you to drop just a $5 or a $10 into the collection box the next time you go to church. I’m sure the poor need it more than any of us do (I know that some ice cream from Andy’s is going to help me a lot less than someone who is struggling to survive).
I believe that there’s a whole lot of different things all of us can do to strengthen our souls and grow closer to God this Lent. If you notice you are struggling, just say a simple prayer of perseverance to God. Even though it may not seem like it , God always hears your prayers and answers them, you just have to listen. If you woke up tomorrow with everything you thanked God for today, what would you have?
— Will Jacob, Class of 2025