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February 22, 2017

A daily practice that can transform your Lent

By Father Gerard H. Chylko, C.Ss.R.

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If you’re looking for a spiritual activity to practice during Lent, here’s a suggestion I’ve borrowed from Katie Warner (see her website here).

For the season of Lent, get a calendar and for each of the 40 days, write down the name of one person. It can be a member of your family, a friend, a coworker, a neighbor, an acquaintance, or even someone you may find difficult or are not too fond of.

Then when that day arrives, offer all your prayers and petitions, joys and frustrations for that person’s intentions.

This practice can be transformative. First of all, it encourages us to take the Lenten practice of prayer more seriously. After all, we’ve made a promise to pray for that person, whether he or she knows it or not.

Second, it allows us to become a sort of spiritual companion for other people on their own Lenten journey. If appropriate, you can even let them know beforehand that you will be praying for them on that day. If you do, the individual may even give you specific intentions to pray for, making that day’s prayer even more meaningful.

Third, it provides an opportunity for us to catch up on all of those “I’ll pray for you” promises. It’s easy to tell people that we are praying for them, but sometimes our prayer for them isn’t as frequent or as deep as we would like it to be, or we may forget to pray altogether!

This Lenten prayer activity changes that. We devote an entire day to focus on one person’s struggles, hopes, spiritual life, family relations, health, and whatever else that soul uniquely needs from us and our intercession.

Fourth, this practice assures that we ourselves will be praying each day of Lent. And we may decide to continue this practice throughout the season of Easter!

I encourage you to join me in this special prayer journey during Lent. It can help us feel very connected with others. And it can remind us that, especially during this penitential season, we are all one body, helping to bear one another’s cross so that at the end of these 40 days, we can rejoice in the glory of Easter as brothers and sisters through the Risen Christ.

Father Gerard H. Chylko, C.Ss.R.
St. Peter the Apostle Church and
The Shrine of St. John Neumann
Philadelphia



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Two thousand years ago Jesus said, “He sent me to preach the Good News to the poor.” Since 1732 the Redemptorists have followed in His footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned. Our congregation of missionary priests and brothers was founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori. Like the first Apostles, our mission—and our joy—is bringing the message of salvation to all people. As Redemptorists, we have a special devotion to crib, cross, Mary, and the Eucharist. To learn more, explore our website and connect with us on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.

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