UP Catholic 03 10 2017 E Edition Page 5

The following was adapted from the United States Con- ference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). To read the complete article visit www.usccb.org/ Lent. Remember the formula. The Church captures certain truths with lists and formulas: 10 Commandments, seven sacraments, three persons in the Trinity. For Lent, the Church gives us almost a sloganprayer, fasting and almsgivingas the three things we need to work on during the season. It's a time of prayer. Lent is essentially an act of prayer spread out over 40 days. As we pray, we go on a journey, one that hopefully brings us closer to Christ and leaves us changed by the encounter with him. It's a time to fast. What are you giving up for Lent? Hotdogs? Beer? Jelly beans? Its almost a game for some of us, but fasting is actually a form of penance, which helps us turn away from sin and toward Christ. It's a time to work on discipline. Lent is a time to work on personal discipline in general. Instead of giving something up, it can be doing something positive. Such as exercising more, praying more, or being nicer to others. It's about dying to your- self. The more serious side of Lenten discipline is that its about more than self-control - it's about finding aspects of yourself that are less than Christ-like and letting them die. Don't do too much. Its tempting to make Lent some ambitious period of personal reinvention, but its best to keep it simple and focused. Lent reminds us of our weakness. Even when we set simple goals for ourselves, we still have trouble keeping them. This can be painful, but rec- ognizing how helpless we are makes us seek Gods help with renewed urgency and sincerity. Be patient with your- self. When were confronted with our own weakness, the temptation is to get angry and frustrated. God is calling us to be patient and to see ourselves as he does, with unconditional love. Reach out in charity. Its about more than throwing a few extra dollars in the collec- tion plate; its about reaching out to others and helping them without question as a way of sharing the experience of Gods unconditional love. Learn to love like Christ. Giving of ourselves in the midst of our suffering and self-de- nial brings us closer to loving like Christ. Lent is a journey through the desert to the foot of the cross on Good Friday, as we seek him out, ask his help, join in his suffering, and learn to love like him. www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC March 10, 2017 5 Ten things to remember during Lent

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