Regarding Lent, it is good to go to the Holy Spirit and ask Him for self-knowledge. What does He wish us to work on? One good approach is the traditional approach of three things:
Prayer, Penance, and Charity.
The main overall approach to these three things is to find concrete and small things that will help you convert and change for example, “Holy Spirit, what do I need to improve? Give me self-knowledge and help me to work on my dominant defect (e.g., being too anxious, unforgiving, judging others, impatient, etc.).
Traps: The traps are to make:
- too many resolutions and thus not do any of them.
- to go for big penances which many not really mortify us and may even cause pride in what we are doing, for example, major fasting instead of giving up coffee or dessert.
- to not have concrete resolutions and instead be too general, e.g., I will be charitable. It is better to try and be specific, e.g., “I will try to be present to the person with whom I am talking,” “I will not avoid persons I do not like,” or “Today I will be more attentive in the office to those who want my time.”
Order: One of the best things is to work on Order in one’s life because of its crucial and fundamental importance for the spiritual life, and because you can’t sanctify your work without order. This may mean:
- keeping or getting back to a basic schedule to assist you in completing what you should each day.
- doing one thing well rather than doing many things.
- being present to one’s work or duty instead of choosing to do things you would rather do.
- keeping my home and office tidy.
- not procrastinating, not wasting time, not leaving things for later, etc.
Prayer: Two very good things to work on concern not adding additional prayers, but aiming for quality of prayer:
- praying to God with your heart instead of just with your mind.
- praying with affection, with love for Jesus. Prayer is dialogue, talking with Him.
- seriously trying to be present to God and fighting distractions. Trying to connect with God contemplatively, to encounter Christ deep in the silence of our hearts rather than just mouthing our prayers, e.g., to focus on being “totally present” throughout the Mass, to contemplate the mysteries of the Rosary and not just say the Hail Marys.