Br. Christopher speaks on preparing for Lent:

“In a few days it will be Ash Wednesday, and we will once again be entering the penitential season of Lent. Our thoughts turn to the usual question: what will I do this year? What offering will I make? What will I give up? Often Lent calls to mind such acts as giving up chocolates or putting a few extra dollars in the collection plate. While these are fine observances, it might be well to spend the next few days in prayer reflecting and asking God the following questions: What might be our biggest obstacles to growing closer to Him? What might be our greatest opportunities to do so? And then make these the focus of our Lenten practices.

The traditional Lenten practices of fasting, almsgiving and prayer might be a useful framework that can for thinking about this:
FASTING- In addition to food items, fasting might include limiting or giving up for a time: cellphone, social media, news/entertainments, criticism of self/others. Or try early bedtime, drinking only water.
ALMSGIVING- In addition to monetary contribution, almsgiving could include: forgiving someone, giving the gift of a spiritual book, writing to old friends, making quality time for someone neglected, visit a nursing home, volunteering, smiling and making eye contact.
PRAYER- Making a nightly appointment with Jesus, reading a spiritual book or through a book of the Bible, picking a saint to be your Lenten prayer partner/helper, praying a 40 day novena for someone in your life, incorporate a gratitude practice by thanking God morning and evening for the daily blessings.

Most importantly, whatever Lenten offering we choose, it must ALWAYS be done in union with Jesus’ offering of Himself on the Cross, with His intention of manifesting for the whole world the divine splendor, love and beauty of God and of connecting each and every human being to that Love. Above all, to keep the intention of our sacrifice pure. Remember that even the smallest offering attains infinite value when united to the intention of our Jesus on the Cross.”

Praying for you as we journey together toward the saving mysteries of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Your brothers of New Clairvaux

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