Prayer, fasting and almsgiving, the traditional spiritual practices of Lent, are good for us throughout the liturgical year. How well we live them out—during Lent or at any other time—hinges on our self discipline.
By now, a good number of us have broken our New Year’s resolutions. We’re growing tired of the long winter, yet the promise of spring may remind us of our abandoned resolve to lose weight before the swimsuit season begins. Curbing one’s appetite, controlling one’s temper, quitting smoking, making regular time for prayer, sharing with the poor all require self discipline. We may welcome the opportunity that Lent offers us to try again—whether with the same resolution or another—for a shorter time period and a spiritual purpose.
Father Michael Himes teaches that “the point of asceticism, of self discipline, is to get one’s own hopes and dreams and fears and anxieties out of the way so one can see what’s there to be seen.” Learn more of what he has to say on this topic in the video presentation “What Is Spiritual Discipline?”—one of five presentations on the DVD Questions of the Soul
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Other topics in this program include: “What Is Spirituality?”; “What Is Prayer?”; “What Can Suffering Teach Us?”; and “Do I Really Need Community?” Use these presentations—especially the one on spiritual discipline—for your own personal Lenten reflection. Choose one or more to share in gatherings of adults for faith formation. Invite small Christian communities to cover these topics over five sessions. These “questions of the soul” are year-round and lifelong, just as prayer, fasting and almsgiving are good spiritual practices at any time of the liturgical year. Peace!