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Lenten Spring Training

by Father Ray Hess

This is the time of year that baseball teams are gathering in Arizona and Florida for spring training.  Players will be doing exercises and drills to get ready for the coming season.  It would be very difficult for a player to jump right into the regular season without this time to prepare.

In the church year, we have our time of spring training.  We call it Lent, and it is our time to do some exercises, drills, and conditioning to “get in shape” for the coming Easter Season.  Sometimes, Lent can seem like a negative experience, kind of like punishing ourselves or beating ourselves up.  I hope that we will not see it this way!

I find it helpful to think of our Lenten spring training in this way: things we want to take out of our lives and things we want to add to our lives.Image

The things we might want to take out of our lives could be certain kinds of foods or drinks, excessive TV watching, unkind comments toward others, jealousy, grudges, holding onto hurt feelings, laziness.  Some these things we might remove just for the Lenten season, as a way of self-discipline.  Other negative personal qualities, like holding a grudge, we might want to take out of lives permanently.

What may be even more important are the things we could add to our lives for our training season.  These could be Bible reading and prayer (like doing the new Bible and Prayer Book Challenge!), devotional reading, physical exercise, taking quality time with family or friends, finding some quiet time in your daily life, doing something for people in need.  Some of these things could be helpful regular additions to your life ongoing, and others might be temporary positive additions to your life.

For me, it is helpful to write down my spring training plan for Lent.  I do this in my personal journal which I keep, but it could be written anywhere.  It’s good to write it down and keep it where you will see it regularly.  It does not work well for me if I write down my plan and then forget about it until after Lent is over!  I try to look at my Lenten plan (or rule of life) at least once a week during the season.

I hope that we will all have a wonderful Lenten season of getting in shape and strengthening our spiritual lives!

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