I’ve spent a lot of time soul-searching a way to live out Lent this year. Like probably most of you, I feel like the past year was like a year of Lent—and it’s not over. We have abstained from friends, activities, even Mass and the Eucharist. It has been hard. So the thought of now adding on more of the same did not seem to be a way to approach Lent this year.
Then I thought about Ignatian prayer—putting oneself into the Scripture story as a participant by using the guidance of the Holy Spirit and one’s imagination. It need not be historically accurate, but it should lead to more closeness with Jesus and his mother, as if talking across the dinner table. And his mother . . . Yes, I thought, that will be the key—conversations with Mary.
And so, I have my plan for Lent. I share it here in case it’s something (or some other version of it) any of you might like to try.
First, I will journal. It’s something I have done at different times that has helped me to focus my thoughts and keep track of them.
I will try to journal every day, but I’ll try not to be too discouraged about days that I miss.
I’ll entrust myself to the Holy Spirit to guide and protect me as I meditate on each event.
I will choose each of the mysteries of the Rosary, except the glorious mysteries, which I’ll save for Easter week. I will also choose some of the Mass readings. If it’s not clear that Mary was present as Jesus was talking, I plan to be visiting with her when a neighbor comes in to tell her what she just heard about him. And, of course, sometimes I could have us be two of the women accompanying him as he proclaims the Gospel.
When the news is difficult, I’ll try to comfort and encourage Mary, as I’m sure some of her friends did. If it’s amazing or wonderful news, I’ll rejoice with her.
In all of these scenarios, I’ll talk things over with Mary. I will try to be the best friend that I can. And that means I’ll also try to listen to her.
By the time Easter week has ended, I’m sure I’ll be more grateful to our Blessed Mother and more in love with Jesus. And hopefully, some of the sting of this past year will be mellowed.