by Johnette Benkovic – full article can be found here.
…So, how do we make this a good Lent – one that is well-prepared and one that yields lasting fruit in our spiritual life?
Maybe the name of the season itself provides us with help.
L – Look into your heart.
Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate the aspect of your being that most needs to grow into the image and likeness of God. Is it a virtue you need to acquire? A familiar sin you need to break? A bad habit you have befriended? Lent is not so much about giving up as giving in. Giving in to the grace of conversion always available to us.
E – Engage the battle.
The best way to do this is to know you are in a battle – with the devil, with the world, and often with yourself! Wake up in the morning and put on your fighting gear (Ephesians 6: 10-17). Name the vice you want to overcome and the virtue you need to acquire it. Set out to slay this dragon of your soul with the sword of truth and the weaponry of virtuous action.
Check yourself half-way through the day. How are you doing? Readjust your battle gear if needed. Get up if you have fallen. Check yourself at the end of the day? Did you win more than you lost? Yippee, if so! No worries, if not. Set out more determinedly tomorrow. And do not let the evil one sap your strength and your determination!
N – No turning back.
In Luke 9:62, Jesus reveals an important reality to a potential disciple: “Whoever puts his hand to the plow but keeps looking back is unfit for the reign of God.” Once we have resolved to grow in a certain virtue or break with a certain habit, sin, or weakness, don’t give up. Plow this area of your being with fortitude, perseverance, and long suffering. Fight temptation, avoid the near occasion of sin, and move forward with hope and confidence in God.
T – Turn to the means of victory Holy Mother Church provides us.
Daily prayer, the sacraments of the Church, more frequent attendance at daily Mass, and holy devotional practices help us develop interior muscle and strength. They feed us, sustain us, purify us, and heal us. The graces they provide fortify our good resolve with supernatural life and move us more swiftly and easily on the path of holiness and truth.