Maybe you’ve already bought the new Blessed is She Lent Journal, To the End, and you’re filled with hopeful anticipation to begin. But you can’t help but wonder if you’ll actually be able to stick with it till Easter. Maybe you’ve shrugged it off, because most days, you’re lucky to fit in ten minutes of prayer in the car, let alone some uninterrupted journaling time. So why bother trying?
Whether you fit one of those descriptions or fall somewhere in between, this post is for you. As Catholics, wives, mothers, grandmothers, religious sisters, students, working women, sisters, daughters, friends, and more, we all have a lot on our plates. We’re all busy with the good work that our vocations and seasons of life demand of us, and that is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s one reason why Lent is such a tremendous blessing. Each year, God calls us to forty days set apart from our daily lives—not physically, maybe emotionally, but certainly spiritually. It is too easy—tempting in fact—to let Lent look no different from the other 325 days of the year just minus the chocolate, or social media, or whatever we choose to give up.
But what if we would gain more spiritually by committing to daily prayer (with or without the guidance of the Lent Journal) than by saying sayonara to Instagram for forty days?
I think we might.
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When and Where to Use Your Lent Journal
In this short month before the start of Lent, pray about what it might look like to add some prayer or devotion to your days, instead of or in addition to making a sacrifice of some kind. What is God asking you to lift up or lay down? If the Lent Journal may help you set Lent apart spiritually, here are a few ideas for how you may be able to best fit it into your daily routine.
During Your Morning Prayer Routine
If you already carve out time for prayer at the start of the day, adding the daily pages of the Lent Journal may fit into your routine seamlessly. If you don’t want it to replace something that’s part of your current routine, you may need to set your alarm fifteen minutes earlier. Just consider that part of your Lenten sacrifice. It will be well worth it! Even more of a sacrifice? Starting a morning prayer routine from scratch during Lent.
A few tips: get your coffee maker ready the night before and set it to brew automatically so you’ll be able to pour a cup as soon as you get up. Set out your materials (like your Lent Journal, a pen, your Bible, a Rosary) the night before along with a blanket to cozy up in. Offer up the words “All for you, Jesus” as your feet hit the floor, especially on the days when you could really use the extra sleep. Trust that Jesus will never miss your morning coffee date. He will cherish that sweet, quiet time with you!
On Your Commute
Of course, if you drive to work yourself, skip to the next idea. But if you take public transportation or carpool, stick your Lent Journal in your work bag and pull it out during your commute.
Reflecting on Jesus and who He is is sure to start your day off on a peaceful, soul-filling note that can carry over into each interaction throughout the day.
Tracing back to 11th-century Italy, praying the Angelus daily has long been a beautiful part of Catholic prayer tradition. Traditionally marked by the ringing of church bells at 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. (something that is still done in some places, but not quite as often as in the past), my personal favorite time to pray the Angelus is at noon. I’m usually right in the middle of prepping lunch for my two-year-old, scrounging up something for myself, or wrapping up my last email or draft from a morning of work. But that’s exactly why I need it.
When the “noon bells ring” (ahem, via an iPhone app, in my case), I’m reminded to try to stop what I’m doing and recall our Lord’s Incarnation and Mary’s role in our salvation story. Perhaps during Lent, these bells can also be a call to take fifteen minutes with your Journal. I’ll be the first to admit that this timing would not be the best in my particular season. But I think I would have loved it during college!
At 3:00 P.M.
The 3:00 hour holds special significance to us year-round, but especially during Lent when Our Lord’s Passion is always close to our hearts. Again, if your schedule and season of life make this middle-of-the-afternoon time a possibility, 3:00 would be an incredibly beautiful time to sit down every day with your Lent Journal. Consider pairing it with a Divine Mercy Chaplet.
While Waiting for Your Children
If your afternoons are often defined by waiting for your children—in the carpool line, on the bleachers during soccer practice, in the lobby during gymnastics, etc.—consider using this time to dive into your Journal. Its slim (but sturdy) profile and soft cover make it lightweight and easy to throw into your bag and bring it along wherever you’re going.
Best of all, your kids catching you with it opens up beautiful opportunities to share with them about doing something meaningful for Lent.
Do you know which moments of Lent seem to be the hardest to me? That hour or two after dinner when whatever I gave up is particularly tempting. Gave up dessert? This is when the post-dinner, “I could go for a little something sweet,” feeling kicks in. Gave up TV? This is when curling up on the couch with my husband for a show on Netflix sounds the most enticing. And so on and so forth. No matter what I gave up, my resolve feels weakest at the end of a long day.
That’s why picking up the Lent Journal at this time would be so helpful. It would serve as a needed reminder that our sacrifices are for a purpose, and we are drawing closer to Christ because of them.
My husband falls asleep within seconds of his head hitting the pillow. But if you’re more like me, and desperately need some quality wind-down time before sleep is even on your radar, I love the idea of closing the day with Jesus. Dim the lights, maybe light a calming-scented candle, and go through the Lent Journal pages for the day. Conclude with an Examination of Conscience.
When we reflect on who Christ is and how we can better reflect Him in the days ahead, we set ourselves up for daily growth in our walks with the Lord. What more could we ask for during Lent, and beyond?
When and where will you be fitting your Lent Journal into your daily routine? Let us know below so we can be encouraged by one another!When + Where to Use the Blessed is She Lent Journal #BISblog #BISlent // Click To Tweet
Lisa Kirk is a regular contributor to the BIS blog. She is a wife, mama, and writer in Raleigh, North Carolina. She loves city life, Sunday brunch, and the beauty she uncovers (almost) daily in her vocation. In between snuggling with her toddler and dating her handsome husband, she blogs about family, faith, and feminine style here.