Four Signs of a Healthy Lenten Spirituality

Sr. Melannie Svoboda
PARISH LIFE - February 2006, #263


OUR FASTING during Lent should be integral to our daily living. Some people choose to do only ‘tacked-on penances.’ Rather than looking at their daily life to find sacrifices they could embrace, they opt for penances that are extraneous to their lives. A man might be a workaholic, for example, but gives up chocolate for Lent. Wouldn’t it be a more fitting penance for him to ‘fast’ from his work and spend more time with his family?

Healthy penance flows from our relationships, responsibilities and religious convictions. Some examples of this type of penance are the following: to drive more compassionately, to be more patient with coworkers, to be kinder to store clerks, to visit an elderly relative or friend, to be honest in all our dealings, to slow down, to extend forgiveness, to do a favor for a neighbor, to volunteer at the parish, to count blessings.

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