40 Days, 40 Ways: A New Look at Lent

40 Days, 40 Ways: A New Look at Lent

by Marcellino D'Ambrosio Ph.D.


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If you're looking for a new Lenten experience, here are forty fresh ideas. Some will challenge you to deepen your prayer life; others will open your mind to new ways to serve others. Each of the forty ways includes a reflection to help you understand more about Lent and why it matters. You'll learn how to have a more creative experience of Lent. You'll discover positive, proactive ways to take action instead of the same old routine of giving something up. The result will be spiritual transformation and a closer walk with Christ—not only during Lent but throughout the year.

The audio edition of this book can be downloaded via Audible.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616368944
Publisher: Franciscan Media
Publication date: 11/14/2014
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Marcellino D’Ambrosio is a world-renowned commentator on religious issues. With a Ph.D. in theology (under Avery Cardinal Dulles), nine years of university teaching, and hundreds of published articles, Marcellino has a wealth of knowledge and knows how to make it accessible for a wide variety of audiences. Known as "Dr. Italy," D'Ambrosio has a popular website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed and appears weekly on a variety of Catholic TV and radio networks. He and his wife have five children. His books include When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

Day 1 Receive ashes. Pray for humility daily 1

Day 2 Cut your media consumption to open up time for prayer, service, and personal relationship with others. Use at least some of your drive time to listen to Catholic radio, talks, or audiobooks instead of news, sports, and music 3

Day 3 Make an extensive examination of conscience and plan to get to confession before Easter 6

Day 4 Cue back purchases of luxuries and give the saved money to the needy 8

First Sunday of Lent: The Temptation of Christ 10

Day 5 Commit to a daily time of quiet prayer. Don't do all the talking. Listen to God 12

Day 6 Spend the first available ten minutes each day thanking God for everything you are grateful for…before you ask for anything! 14

Day 7 Pray at least one psalm per day and explore the Liturgy of the Hours 16

Day 8 Find a form of Lenten fasting appropriate for you, given your age, health, and state of life 19

Day 9 Get to daily Mass. If that's impossible, try to go on Fridays as well as Sundays 21

Day 10 Learn the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Identify one to begin incorporating into your life this Lent 23

Second Sunday of Lent: The Transfiguration 27

Day 11 Watch Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ during Lent or Holy week and invite someone to watch it with you 29

Day 12 Read a portion of Scripture every day 31

Day 13 Spiritually adopt someone preparing to receive the sacraments of initiation this Easier, praying for him or her throughout Lent 33

Day 14 Spend some time each week in Eucharistic Adoration 35

Day 15 Make the Confiteor a daily prayer during Lent and recite it in the morning or before bed 37

Day 16 Instead of secular videos for weekend entertainment, try some videos that will enrich your spiritual life 39

Third Sunday of Lent: The Cleansing of the Temple and the Ten Commandments 41

Day 17 Recite the Our Father every day, slowly and thoughtfully. Expand to three times per day 43

Day 18 Forgive those who have offended you or your loved ones. Pray for the person who has been the most hurtful or annoying 45

Day 19 Develop your relationship with St. Joseph. Ask him daily to join with you in praying for all the important fathers, including the spiritual fathers, in your life 47

Day 20 Plan a contemplative retreat this Lent 49

Day 21 Get to know the Fathers of the Church 54

Day 22 Invite someone who doesn't regularly attend Mass to come to Church with you 56

Fourth Sunday of Lent: Grace 58

Day 23 Reach out to the least important, least popular, most ignored person at school, home, or work, 60

Day 24 Read or listen to a biography of a saint 62

Day 25 Begin or widen the practice of a family rosary 65

Day 26 Make it a daily practice to pray for the Holy Father's intentions, which are truly universal, and also for at least one particular need beyond the frontiers of your native land 67

Day 27 Meditate on the Lord's passion every Friday. Make the Stations of the Cross or pray the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary, either alone, or, better yet, with others 71

Day 28 Visit someone lonely in the neighborhood, in the hospital, in a nursing home, or in prison 73

Fifth Sunday of Lent: Lazarus 75

Day 29 Commit to malting an examination of conscience each night before bed 77

Day 30 Prayerfully consider making a pilgrimage 79

Day 31 Before work, chores, or study, make a conscious decision to offer up whatever you are doing in love of God and in loving intercession for some person or special need 82

Day 32 Pray regularly for those whose rights and dignity are trampled and for those responsible for their pain. Look for a way to help 84

Day 33 Look for opportunities to volunteer for the lowliest, least desirable jobs, and serve those who are least worthy and least grateful 86

Day 34 Find out what the Sign of the Cross really means, and begin making it less mechanical, more thoughtful, several rimes per day 88

Palm Sunday 90

Day 35 Learn the Prayer of Abandonment of Blessed Charles de Foucauld. Surrender your possessions, your future, and your lire to God as you slowly pray it daily 92

Day 36 Give thanks daily for your own cross-the trials and misfortunes in your life-with the confidence that God will turn them to good 95

Day 37 Learn the Prayer of St. Ignatius. Pray it slowly, meaningfully, daily 97

Day 38 Go to Mass on Holy Thursday, then read John 13-17 99

Day 39 On Good Friday, open up some time, preferably from noon to 3 P.M., as a media-free time of silence and prayer 102

Day 40 Go to the Easter Vigil; if you can't, read the Exsultet and renew your baptismal vows 194

Easter Sunday 110

Celebrating the Easter Season 112

Post-Lenten Postscript 115

Lenten Resources 116

Appendix: A Mini-Retreat for Good Friday and the Triduum 120


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