You Need These 7 Things to Make This Lent Your Holiest Lent Yet (Part 1)

02-18-2018Liturgy CornerChloe Langer

The beginning of Lent is almost upon us. And while it may seem that you just took down your Christmas tree, before you know it, it will be Ash Wednesday. Lent is time for prayer, fasting and alms-giving. It's time to take a look at how we're doing spiritually and make changes so that we can grow closer to God. But that can be a hard task to go at alone. Want to make this your holiest Lent ever? Father William Casey's latest book, Making a Holy Lent can help tackle areas in our life where we need to grow.

1. Prayer

During Lent, the Catholic Church invites us to strengthen our relationship with God through prayer, fasting, and alms-giving. Father Casey focuses on prayer for the first mediation of his Lenten retreat. "I've compiled this book – this written retreat – with one pur- pose in mind," writes Father Casey, "To challenge you to answer the call that God has given to each and every one of you to b e men and women of faith, prayer, and devotion." He points to prayer as the answer to our unstable culture, encouraging spiritual r evival inthe hearts of Christians everywhere.

2. The Catholic Church

"Wherever I go, I find that more and more Catholics, especially young Catholics, don't seem to have any idea about what it means to be Catholic," Father Casey reflects. "No idea what the Catholic Church is or what She's about or where She came from, and no idea what sets Her apart from other religious institutions. This has made younger Catholics, many of whom don't even know the basics of their Faith, easy prey both for fundamentalists sects who peddle simplistic and false interpretations of the Bible and for the secular, materialistic, pagan culture which we livein."

Father Casey's reflection begins by discussing the history of the early Catholic Church. He encourages those on retreat to strive to be more like the Apostles, believing that the Lord will never abandon us, even in times of desolation.

3. Real presence

"If someone were to ask me what I think is the biggest single problem facing the Catholic Church today, I would answer without any hesitation that it is the widespread loss of faith in Our Lord's Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament," Father Casey writes. In this chapter of meditation, he speaks to the heart of what it means to be Catholic – to believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament of the Eucharist. He reflects on thesixth chapter of John, delving into what the words of Christ really mean when He said "this is my body and this is my blood".

4. Confession

Lent is a time of repentance for the Catholic Church. For the past few weeks, we've heard about how John the Baptist prepared the way of the Lord by urging those around him to straighten the path to their hearts for the Lord to walk upon. For those struggling with going to confession, Father Casey says that confession is a way we can grow closer to God, know and love God better, and increase our desire for our prayer life. He urges those making the retreat to pray: "Lord, let there be less of me and more of You. Let me say no to my will and yes to Yours. God, give me the grace to love You more today than yesterday and more tomorrow than today."