Do One Thing for Lent

Do One Thing for Lent

Ash Wednesday is coming. Are you looking forward to it?  Whether you like Lent or would rather skip it, Lent can give us a fresh start in our spiritual life. It’s like spring cleaning for the soul, a time when we can dispose of the clutter that’s been clogging our spirit. But if you would like this Lent to be a step forward in your spiritual life, choose only one thing to focus on.

Focusing on one thing can make a real difference. You might compare it to what happens when you use a magnifying glass to kindle a fire from the rays of the sun. Sunlight doesn’t ordinarily start fires because the rays are diffused over a large area. But when they’re focused, as with the glass, they become so intense that you can start a campfire with it. Similarly, God showers grace on us all the time. But to respond in the most effective way, we can focus on letting grace into the one area of life in which we need it the most. That allows the fire of the Holy Spirit to burn more ardently in our hearts.

If we try to do too much, we set ourselves up for failure. Lent is only six weeks, and researchers say that it takes about three weeks to establish a new habit. To attempt too many changes simply doesn’t work. So be realistic and pick something that will most help you grow closer to God.

But what would be best to pick? You probably already know it in your heart, that one area that’s been giving you the most trouble. You might ask yourself: what is the one thing that, if I actually do it, will find me a better Christian at Easter? By focusing on that one thing, you can concentrate your energies where they will really count.

In general, the Church proposes three areas for improvement during Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. You could pick one of those areas and then decide on a particular thing. But these areas can be taken in a broad sense.

Prayer invites us to grow in our relationship with God. This can range from faithfully attending Mass, to reading the Bible, to setting aside a little time during the day for God.

Fasting invites us to grow in self-discipline. Maybe I could fast more from food, or curb my time on the internet, or refrain from gossip. Perhaps I could spend less time shopping and more time seeking spiritual goods.

Almsgiving invites us to a greater concern for our neighbor. This can include donating money to a worthy cause, or giving of our time to help someone, or offering forgiveness for an injury received.

The possibilities of Lent are indeed endless. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you choose what will help you the most this Lent. But remember: choose only one thing. And then do it! 

By Marianne Lorraine Trouvé, FSP



choosing a penance, lent, prayer, fasting, alsmgiving


Inspiration, Lent



  • i have 40 names in a box and every day i pick a name and pray for that person and their family for the day.
    3/9/2014 7:41:10 PM Reply
  • Thank you Sister, Very interesting. Ithink I will focus on fasting from food and Internet. Instead I wiil spend more time Reading spiritual books and praying.
    2/24/2014 10:31:49 AM Reply
  • Very inspiring article on choosing "One thing for Lent". The analogy of the magnifying glass is an excellent was of seeing this concept and will happily use this idea with my children as well as my catechism students. Thank you.
    2/23/2014 7:29:16 PM Reply
  • I want to read more about the saints, and what they stood for, and spend more time in silent prayer to God.....trying to empty myself and let more of God in....and letting Him have his way with me...and as I recite the rosary, to really place myself in Jesus' place, and then pray to Him to give me more strength to enure what I have to....because it all seems so small, compared to what Christ has done for me. I would pray for the strength to accept whatever comes my way, even though I do not understand WHY...and just have the faith that it is all aprt of his large plan, and it will all work out in the end....so that's a deeper faith.
    2/23/2014 1:49:59 PM Reply
  • I tend to think of all kinds of things to do during Lent. The result is that I do not do anything well and end up disappointed with myself when Easter Sunday arrives. This year I will ask the Holy Spirit to help me choose just one area to focus on. Hopefully when Easter arrives I will feel that I have finally gotten it right!
    2/22/2014 10:20:00 AM Reply
  • I want to pray more - pray at least one full rosary every day.
    2/22/2014 7:21:34 AM Reply
  • I am going to give up sugar.. believe me...it's a big deal for me! Please pray for my strength! I actually have the will power of a toddler....
    2/22/2014 6:03:48 AM Reply
  • Focusing on "one thing" is good advice in preparing for my Lenten journey. I want to find more time to pray, to build an even stronger relationship with my God....with my Blessed Mother. Thank you, dear Sisters.
    2/22/2014 5:36:45 AM Reply

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