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Get Ready For Lent

Author: Andy Drozdziak

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Get Ready For Lent

Get ready to kickstart your Lenten journey with some great resources and ideas from Andy Drozdziak.

1. Freed To Be Me by Margaret Duncan

Margaret Duncan tells her story of a difficult childhood, marriage and turning towards Christ. It is a good Lenten read because it is about one person's journey from despair to hope and from death to resurrection. Margaret deals admirably with her many sorrows and trials, revealing how God allows us to go through setback and tragedy before experiencing His life and peace. As she says: "Jesus led me into the light, smashed the last of my masks and set me free to be me." Available here through Goodnews books, £9.99. 

2. Forgiveness Is For Giving by Chris Thomas

Forgiveness is a major Lenten theme, which Chris Thomas brilliantly unpacks through story, testimony and Scripture. It forces us to take a long, hard look at our attitudes towards forgiveness. Examples such as concentration camp survivor Corrie Ten Boom meeting and forgiving the soldier responsible for her sister's death are inspiring and show us how God's mercy and our forgiveness to others can change the world. Available here through Goodnews books, £8.99.

3. Break Forth, Ignatian Solidarity Network

Gathering Jesuit voices working in areas such as racial equality, poverty and environmental justice, Break Forth offers daily reflections through the lens of daily Mass readings and Ignatian spirituality. These reflections, as well as guide questions, help us reflect on our treatment of "the least of our brothers and sisters" and lead to action. Here are two previous thought-provoking questions:In what ways has water been a sacred part of your life? What's holding you back from being a prophetic voice on climate change? Sign up for Break Forth here. If you are looking for a fresh challenge and new heart, this is the Lent resource for you.

4. Streams by Dean, Lee and Mills

Pope Francis beautifully reminds us that God, in Lent, "constantly gives us a chance to begin loving anew." Streams is a great accompaniment to personal prayer or Eucharistic adoration. Reflective tracks like Be Still My Soul and Touch, beautifully sung by Katherine Lee and accompanied by Matt Dean and Brother John Bosco Mills CFR, remind us of the Father’s love. Lively tracks like Let All The Earth tell of the call to worship with heart, mind, body and soul. This is a timely reminder of our need of God’s mercy and the streams of living water. Available here CD £9, Digital album £8.

5. Bible Alive

This special Lent edition helps us dig deeper into the Word of God. Archbishop Vincent Nichols helpfully points to St Ignatius of Loyola as a Lenten guide and there are the usual reflections on daily Mass readings, enabling us to become like Christ, the bread of life. Available here through Alive Publishing, £2.50. 

6.  Give up Facebook for Lent

Read how The Guardian’s Peter Ormerod recommends giving up Facebook for Lent to strip away "the stuff we use to puff ourselves up" and deepen faith.

7. Don’t give up Facebook for Lent

 “You have an opportunity during this Lenten season to bathe the internet with grace…I hope you'll stay!” Catholic blogger Kathy Schiffer suggests that blessing others online in Lent others with words of kindness is a better solution than giving it up.

8. Detox

Lent is a time to recognise the need to change bad habits and to consider both our physical and spiritual health. Why not try a detox, like Rita O'Neill.

9. Go Deeper

In the CCR classic, Hungry For God, Ralph Martin emphasises the Lenten call to go deeper in prayer: "We are to be led on by the Spirit to know Him (God) face to face, to abound in the knowledge of Him..." (p74) Many resources can help develop a deeper prayer life. This article on Scripture and Prayer is a good place to start.

10. CAFOD

This year, donations to Cafod's Family Fast Day Appeal will be matched by the UK Government, meaning that donations will be doubled, up to a total of £5 million,  Ensure you donate between 13 February and 12 May 2018.

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