Lent is a time of year that is observed by Catholics and other Christians. It is a time of fasting and prayer leading up to Easter. It is also a time to help others in need. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday and represents the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting and praying in the desert before he began his ministry. Lent is a time for us to reflect on our own lives and prepare ourselves for Easter.
During lent Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent. This tradition has been around for centuries, and there are many reasons why Catholics choose to do this. Some people believe that the practice of not eating meat on Fridays began in the early Church. In the Bible, there are many references to fasting and abstaining from food to show piety and devotion to God. In the New Testament, Jesus himself fasted for 40 days in the desert. Early Christians often practiced fasting as a way to prepare for important events such as baptisms and before going out on mission to evangelize. Because Jesus died on a Friday, Catholics see this as an act of penance. So, by not eating meat on Fridays, Catholics are making a small sacrifice that shows their repentance for their sins. In addition, many Catholics believe that abstaining from meat on Fridays helps them to be more focused on their prayers and spiritual practices. It is also really good for the environment! Fasting also helps us to remember those who are less fortunate than us.
During Lent, many people choose to give up something they enjoy as a sacrifice and a way of growing closer to God. This can be favorite foods, social media, etc. I spent most of my life giving up things like sugar, soda, chocolate, etc. Because I am a vegetarian, everyone cooks meals I loved, so it wasn’t much of a sacrifice. I decided to changed things up by focusing on self-care. I found that it’s important to remember to focus on your relationship with yourself as well to better serve others. Sometimes we get so busy taking care of others or working that we neglect our well-being. Here are some tips for how to focus on self-care during lent.
- Make time for yourself each day. This might mean taking a relaxing bath, reading your favorite book, or taking a walk outdoors.
- Eat healthy and balanced meals. Avoid eating junk food or too many sweets, which can lead to feeling sluggish and unmotivated. You can also fast on Fridays and not eat meat.
- Exercise regularly. Even if it’s just a brisk walk around the block, getting your body moving will help to improve your mood and energy levels.
- Spend time with loved ones. Lent is a great time to reconnect with family and friends. Make plans to get together for meals, outings, or just to chat on the phone or over video call.
- Set aside some time each day for prayer or meditation. Lent is a time of reflection and spiritual growth. Dedicating even just a few minutes each day to connecting with your faith will help you to feel more centered and at peace.
- Cut down or take a break from social media. Many folks use this time to self-reflect or to stop wasting time. A step back from social media can help you stay present in the moment.
- Take some time for yourself. When we get busy, it’s important to schedule in some “me” time. Whether it’s attending a Lenten retreat or simply taking a nap, make sure to carve out some time each week to do something that you enjoy just for yourself.
By following these simple tips, you can make la cuaresma a meaningful season while also taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Dr. Patty Jiménez is the Founder of Recetas. She obtained 2 Masters in Theology and Ministry and a Doctorate in Ministry specializing in Latinx theology and ministry. She has over 27 years experience in Catholic Ministry and is a spiritual director and training as a wellness coach.