A Tool for Discovering Your Benedictine Lenten Practice

Purpose of the Tool:  To discern your practice for Lent using the Rule of St. Benedict as a guide.

Background on the Tool:  It is important that we discern a practice for Lent that fits us and helps us towards a life most pure and opening the heart to the joy of the Holy Spirit. Mark Scott offers several signs as to whether or not our practice is motivated by God.  These include having the approval of a spiritual confidant, if we can be cheerful and not melancholy or self-absorbed as we do them, if we undertake them after calm consideration, if they increase our humility, and if we can pray better doing them.[1]

The Tool:  Set aside some time of quiet to reflect on your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what you are neglecting and what would be transformative in your life and in your communities.  For example, are you being asked to abstain from food, drink or certain words or actions?  Are you being asked to let go of something or to take on a new service to others or a different way of acting or speaking?

Write down your Lenten practice.

Share the practice with another person as Benedict advises in Chapter 49 of the Rule.

Begin by offering your love and the practice to God.

As you move through Lent, if you “fall off the Lenten wagon, despair not.  Turn to God and once more offer your intention and practice as a gift of joy and thanksgiving.

Look forward to Easter with joy and spiritual longing!

                December, 2011

© 2011 The Rev. Dr. Jane A. Tomaine

[1] Scott, 269-270.


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