14 Lenten Do’s & Don’ts

Once again, Lent is upon us. These 40 days of fasting and sacrifice are meant to bring us closer to God in anticipation of Christ’s Resurrection at Easter. Many Christians view Lent as a difficult time when they have to give up nice things like chocolate, fast food, or binging TV shows, but it’s actually an opportunity.

To get a better idea about the meaning of Lent, tips for making the most of it, and pitfalls to avoid, we spoke to Fr. Dindo Billote and Fr. Sam Conforti at St. Mary in Mokena. Here are the major Lenten “Do’s and Dont’s’” they suggested.

DON’T fast for show

Lent is not a time to be superficial and do things just for “show,” whether you’re showing off to others or to God. You also shouldn’t fast just because you think it’ll convince God to answer your prayers or give you what you want. That’s missing the point.

DO fast to create space that deepens your relationship with God

The point of Christian fasting is intentionally withholding something you’d normally partake in (like food) for the purpose of creating space in your life to feast on the presence of Jesus “directly.” God wants us closer to Him, but the many distractions of life and the world often keep us away. Fasting from those things opens a more direct path to deepen our relationship with God.

Lenten Don'ts

DON’T complain

This advice comes straight from Jesus’s mouth. “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward” (Matthew 6:16)

DO be cheerful

Again, we don’t fast during Lent to make a social statement or to look righteous in front of others. Looking gloomy or sad all the time might draw other people’s attention in a bad way. Instead, we should be cheerful that our fasting is bringing us closer to God. “But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:17)

DON’T Replace Confession with Fasting

Fasting during Lent is not a way to get our sins forgiven.

DO go to confession Early

You should receive the Sacrament of Confession during Lent, particularly if you haven’t yet received it this year and especially if you are not living in a state of Grace. Also, don’t wait until the last minute to confess your sins. Consider going earlier during Lent. Not only will that put you in a better position to deepen your connection with God during the season, but you’ll also avoid the long lines right before Holy Week!

Here is the Confession schedule at St. Mary Church in Mokena:

Saturdays:   3:30-4:30 pm

First Saturday:   8:30 am – 9:30 am 

Wednesday, March 22nd from 6-8 pm: Lenten Confessions

DON’T give up

We’re only human, and we all fall short. Sometimes, you might give into temptation and slack off on your Lenten sacrifice. That doesn’t make you a bad person, and it doesn’t mean you should give up. In fact, giving up is far worse because it means you are pushing God away.

DO Keep Trying

Lent is a marathon, not a sprint. If you find yourself behind pace, you can make up for it by continuing or even upping your fasting and sacrifice. The whole point is to grow and develop your relationship with God. Keep that in mind as you persevere.

Lenten Do's

DON’T forget to act

Developing your personal relationship with God through prayer and fasting is a major purpose of Lent. But it’s not everything.

DO share your time, talent, and treasure with the Church

Supporting the Church by donating your time, talent, and treasure is crucial to deepening that relationship with God. Remember, the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. If you don’t support it, how can you support Christ?

DON’T use Lent as an addiction treatment program

Lent should not be viewed as a solution to medical issues. That is not its purpose.

DO get professional help if you have a genuine addiction

If you have any kind of addiction, seek professional help to rid yourself of it. Lenten prayer and fasting can support your journey to recovery, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a cure.

DON’T forget to pray

You can’t draw closer to God without an active prayer life. Without prayer and without God, fasting is little more than a weight loss plan.

DO go to all Holy Week Masses/services

Take every opportunity to enrich your prayer life this Lent by saying the Rosary, going to Adoration, and attending all Holy Week services. Here is the Holy Week schedule at St. Mary Mokena this year:

Thursday, April 6th at 7:00 pm: Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Friday, April 7th at 3:00 pm: Veneration of the Cross

Friday, April 7th at 7:00 pm: Stations of the Cross

Saturday, April 8th at 8:00 pm: Easter Vigil Mass

Sunday, April 9th at 8:00 am, 9:30 am, 11:00 am, or 12:30 pm: Easter Mass

Lent is a yearly opportunity for us to focus on God. It’s a chance to step away from the ways of the world and remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return. The purpose of our lives is not found here on earth. Rather, it is to get back to God. Lent offers a great opportunity to do that.

>> Check Out Our Lenten Reading List

One thought on “14 Lenten Do’s & Don’ts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s