Voices: This Lent I’m sharpening the tools I have

By Shelley Metcalf
Catholic Spirit Staff

Maybe it’s because Ash Wednesday felt like it came later, but I needed Lent to start in a big way this year. I think I began to crave hitting the “restart” button in early February. 
For me, Lent is a time to slow it all down and make time to feed my soul and bring balance back into my life. In Lents past, I have taken on new challenges and given up bad habits, which worked well for the most part. This year, however, instead of trying something different, I decided to better use all the opportunities to feed my soul that are literally at my fingertips. I think when I take the time to look at all that I have, there are plenty of resources readily available to build my relationship with Christ.
For example, I get the daily Scripture readings in my inbox every morning (visit www.usccb.org and click on “Bible” to subscribe). I do read them on most days, but I want to spend more than just two distracted minutes with them. I am also blessed to work in a place where attending daily Mass is simply a matter of walking down the hall. So for the next six weeks, my goal is to make the effort to stop what I am doing and get to Mass at least once a week. I know from experience that just taking a little more time with Scripture and attending daily Mass help me focus on Christ. They open my eyes to his presence all around me. 
Also, I live within 2 miles of my parish, and I probably pass the church an average of eight times a week. Jesus is there in the tabernacle, waiting patiently no doubt. I want to visit him at least once before Good Friday. It’s not about being too busy; it’s about making the time to stop the car, quiet my brain, surrender my worries and sit quietly with Christ. 
As a family, we prepare sandwiches once a month for Mobile Loaves and Fishes, but I can’t remember the last time we prayed for those we serve. Nightly prayer time used to be a daily event for us, but lately we have not prioritized it. That time is precious and as a family, we need it. At the very least, my kids and I need to be more thankful for our many blessings and pray more often for the less fortunate.
Then there are the faith formation opportunities that are at our fingertips. I teach second graders preparing to make their first holy Communion, and my children attend weekly religious education classes. There is no reason why I can’t share with them what we are learning in my class and vice versa. We need to be more deliberate as a family in sharing the Good News with one another. Lenten Sunday nights around the dinner table are a good place to do more of this.
There are a few other things that are tried and true that I am working on, too. The bottom line for me this Lent is that I have all the tools I need to be a better disciple, I just need to pick them up and use them with purpose.
May we all recognize and utilize the opportunities to draw closer to Christ that are literally at our fingertips.