The three types of lenten offerings are supposed to be: fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.

So I’ve been doing Lent wrong for a long time. My whole life, in fact.

Fasting is part of mortifying the senses. Fasting is giving up some good as a sacrifice or a penance. It is not ridding yourself of something that is already evil, although it never hurts to work on those bad habits too. But it isn’t a form of sacrifice to give up swearing or any other bad habit. The sacrifice comes from giving up something good and treasured. Maybe it’s a meal, maybe it’s a leisure activity, or hobby, maybe it’s a time spent doing something else redirected toward prayer. I have fasted from many things, but have often lost the concept of true sacrifice.

Prayer is self explanatory. But do we put enough energy into it? I often do not. We often think highly of ourselves if we mutter a prayer or two throughout the day. But not only are we called to a daily rosary, but to morning and evening prayer. Morning is easy enough for me to remember, but I seldom end my days the correct way. This would be an excellent thing to correct during lent.

Almsgiving is the one I suppose I’ve overlooked the most. I tithe… loosely, I’m not sure if its 10%. But it’s very regular and we even upped it recently when we freed ourselves from debt (with the help and grace of God). But I have never given more specifically because it was lent, and I have never specifically given money that would otherwise have been for some pleasure to a nobler cause for lent. But this year, I shall begin.

Armed with new understanding, I hope to make this lent and each one after it, more and more beneficial. Thank God for giving us this time of the year with extra instruction and dedication to urging us toward our greatest end.

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