Father Carota offers the following traditional Lenten practices as we kick off another lenten season today. Happy Ash Wednesday!
On Ash Wednesday, all over the world, traditional and Novus Ordo Catholics are going to be praying and fasting. It is a powerful day to ask for God’s forgiveness and for the salvations of Souls. All of us Catholics need to pray for unity and purity of Catholic dogma. We also want to repent of individual and collective sins that are destroying the Mystical Body of Christ.
1) Do a very humble and sorrowful confession. Take the time to go over a very good examination of conscience and write down your sins so as to not forget them. Often we get nervous in the confessional and can forget them. Stating how many times and when was the last time you committed the sins. This helps the confessor to give you the right penance and to help you root out these vices. Example: if you see pornography and self pleasure yourself everyday, compared to once having seen a dirty picture a year ago, there is an enormous difference. Never ever conceal sins because of shame. Especially be sorrowful for sacrilegious sins like having received Holy Communion with a mortal sin on your soul.
2) Holy Latin Mass everyday. It takes a lot of discipline to get up early to go to Holy Mass, but the fruits are well worth it. There is no greater prayer than the prayer of Jesus to the Father through the Holy Spirit in the Holy Latin Mass in which we participate.
3) Pray the Holy Rosary. Meditate prayerfully on the Passion of Jesus (Sorrowful Mysteries) everyday during lent. It would be even more effective, if the whole family prays it together. Set a time to pray when people are home and not too late when everyone wants to fall asleep. Try to put your heart into the words and meditations on the passion.
5) Pray the Stations of the Cross Slowly. Take yourself back in time to the Holy Land, retracing the steps of Jesus on His way to Calvary. Search for a good traditional pamphlet on the Stations and use it. This is usually done on Friday, but it would also be good to do everyday of lent.
6) Read a traditional Catholic book. Like the “Imitation of Christ” or “The Secret of the Rosary“. Any book that will encourage and inspire you to be happier and holier.
7) Make time for heart felt prayer. Talk heart to heart with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. This is best done in front of the Blessed Sacrament. If for some reason you cannot go to a church, pray at home facing where ever the closest Tabernacle is in a nearby church. Then have faith that God has heard your prayers.
8) Disconnect from social media and News. Fast from Facebook, blogs and use your Cell Phone, computer, to the absolute minimum. I want to really emphasize this. We need to be connected to God instead, not the internet and the cell phone. Help your children to not use video games and electronic devices at all. If you haven’t already disconnected cable and TV antennas, lent is the perfect time to do this, (and for good). There is no good left on TV.
9) Stop watching the news. Instead use this time to pray for the world governments. What good does it do us to be depressed over all the evil things going on in the world that we have no control over? What good does it do to be aware of the weather? This time can be much better used to love and communicate with our families and make our home a happier world where they can see the difference. Use time to eat and play together as a family. Take time to communicate with each other and love each other more.
10) Fast by eating healthy and as a family. Make a firm promise to absolutely not buy any fast food (Fast from Fast Foods). No pizza either, especially Pepperoni (meat) on Friday. Sacrifice time to make delicious healthy home made meals that everyone can enjoy. Stay away from desserts and sodas. Set the table and enjoy each others company.
11) Forgive and Pray for those who have hurt you. Forgive everything from the past, once and forever. Holding on to pain from our childhood, our parish, our spouses, does more harm to our spiritual life than you can imagine. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”, “Love your enemy”, “Pray for those who persecute you”, Jesus. Pray for all those who are destroying Catholic doctrine and liturgy too.
12) Stop taking the Salvation of The World on you Shoulders. Jesus is the savior of the world. We are just to help those with whom we have influence. And let us not forget, salvation starts with our own souls and family. Every time you get depressed about the pope, bishops, priests, religious and laity, get down on our knees and pray about it. Then, give it over to God, Mary and the Saints to take care of it. We only do what ever we can to peacefully reform and renew the Church. Then, we let God do the rest. We are not God. Invite people this lent to attend a Latin Mass, Traditional Retreat or Traditional group. Chill out and have more joy. God is still in charge of the Church and the world. We are only His humble servants.
After the 40 days of Lent, hopefully we have spiritually grown and have been renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit. The passion, death and resurrection of Jesus brought about the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the apostles and the whole Church. This is the happy destination (being filled up with the Holy Spirit) we are trying to reach after the 40 days of traveling through the desert of lent. It is so wonderful to be a traditional Catholic.