We can begin Lent with enthusiasm, but then lose our way, forget about the season, lose a sense of progress through the season.
And sometimes our Lenten disciplines can just seem too hard, too much like hard work.
Here is a suggestion that offers a quiet and relaxing, and even brief, way of keeping the season, and allowing it to become part of the rhythm of our days.
Choose one of the Lent calendars below, print it off or keep it in a drawing programme on your PC or Tablet. Then each day write in the box for the day, or colour it in, or both. Suggestions of how to choose what to write/colour are given below, but feel free to make your own choice
Ways to Use the Calendars
1) Pray for a person each day of Lent. Write their name in your calendar, and draw or colour in their day. (Colour is not a requirement; shading with a black pen or pencil can also be a meditative practice.)
2) Use a daily book of Lenten meditations. Read the meditation for the day and select a word that jumps out at you. Write the word in the space. Meditate on it as you draw and colour around it. Let it enter your heart and mind. Ask God what you need to hear from the word.
3) Read and reflect on the Gospel of the Day – available here and on our parish Facebook page – @stnicholasboldmere. Again, choose a word that stands out for you and colour around it. Let it enter your heart and mind. Ask God what you need to hear from the word.
4) Use the vocabulary of Lent from Scripture and tradition–ashes, desert, temptation, denial, repentance, Passion, cross, forgiveness, fasting…. Write it or a draw a symbol of it in your calendar. Quietly speak with the Lord about what this means for you.
5) Reflect on your day and consider the particular quality of Jesus that you would like to remember and pray into your day : Saviour, Redeemer, Healer, Brother, Son, Shepherd, light, radical, obedient, forgiving,… Again, write it or a draw a symbol of it in your calendar. Quietly speak with the Lord about what this means for you.
6) Reflect on your self – gently – and focus on your faults or failings, and pray for help as you colour the day. The past year has been difficult for many people, so you might also enter your specific worries, fears, and sorrows on the calendar. Jesus promised: “Come to me, all you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11 :28 ) Ask the Holy Spirit to be present as you reflect on these. This is not meant to be an exercise in self-flagellation or self-pity, but a way to be honest with yourself and draw closer to God and God’s unconditional love. Mix in some dreams, hopes, and thanksgivings.
Here are the records of prayer created by others in previous years. (But don’t let their achievements put you off!! Just enjoy the opportunity this spiritual exercise gives to pause, reflect, ‘doodle’ and spend time with Jesus).