By Susan Ciancio

Lent is almost upon us. As we think about the sacrifice Christ made when He allowed Himself to be tortured and crucified, we can’t help but feel both sorrow and joy—sorrow for the agony He endured and joy for His triumph over death and evil.

We want you to have a Lenten experience that’s like no other you’ve ever had. The last few days leading up to Lent give us the perfect opportunity to think about how we will use these six weeks to transform our lives, to become closer to God, to help others, and to unite ourselves with Christ’s suffering.

Though we should prepare for His coming every day of our lives, Lent is a special time to take extra care in those preparations.

Many people give something up for Lent, and sacrifice is important. But giving something up is just a start. If we simply tell ourselves we’re giving up chocolate or our favorite snack and then do nothing else, we will be doing ourselves a disservice, and we won’t gain all that we should from this holy time.

Christ gave His life for us. He gave it freely and out of love. We didn’t deserve His sacrifice. That’s why Lent should be a time when we choose what we will freely give Himand His children—reflecting that same love.  

We know that it’s not always easy to come up with ideas. And sometimes we start Lent with lofty goals and great ideas in mind, only to falter after a week or two. We end up discouraged and upset with ourselves for failing. And we think: Next Lent, I’ll do better!

But you can have that transformative Lent this year! And we want to help. That’s why we created a daily reflection guide chock full of inspiration and encouragement for every day of Lent. We start each day with a quote from Scripture, a saint, or the Catechism. Then we offer a reflection on that quote and a concrete suggestion for how to implement those words so that you can build a culture of life every day in your home or community. Our guide will help you on your journey to showing all people that they are loved and respected members of the human family and that we all have dignity from the first moment of creation until the day God calls us home. We even give suggestions for how to get your family involved!

Here are some of the types of ideas you will encounter in the pages of this guide:

  • Think about someone who has wronged you. Pray for that person and pray for the ability to forgive.
  • What kind of special respect can you show to someone you know who is sick or disabled? Take some time out of your day to give your attention to someone who truly needs it.
  • Show your love for all of Christ’s children by giving voice to preborn babies today and showing their humanity to at least one person.
  • Take some time today to really watch the actions of your spouse or your children. Praise them for something good they’ve done and watch how their faces light up. This is the light of Christ.

Remember that Matthew 25:40 teaches: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

In doing for others, we also do for Christ.

We know that Christ wants our love, but He also wants our service and our faithfulness. He wants us to work every day to better ourselves. And He wants us to love our fellow human beings.

So, let us walk with you this Lent as you strengthen your faith in God and become more compassionate and loving to your fellow human beings. Let us guide you as you allow yourself to be transformed by Christ’s words. And let us help you see others as Christ sees them. That is the culture of life!

Picture courtesy of Exe Lobaiza