Are you ready for Lent? (book giveaway!)

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Guess what? Lent is less than four weeks away.

I know, probably most of you are sending die, evil woman, die! looks at your computer screen right now. I’m ahead of the game, but I have a good reason. I think Lent is the great misunderstood season, and it is possible to approach it with joy–as perhaps you can tell from the image to the right. Today I’d like to share a short excerpt from my new book, Bring Lent to Life, and…I’m hosting my very first giveaway! So let me begin by asking: have you thought about “what you want to give up for Lent”? Read on!

The problem with simply giving something up is what I call the Mardi Gras syndrome: You’re sacrificing sweets for Lent, so the day before Ash Wednesday you have four bowls of ice cream. (There’s a reason it’s called “fat Tuesday.”) And on Easter Sunday you celebrate the end of the fast with two chocolate bunnies, a couple dozen handfuls of jelly beans, three slices of pie, and a cinnamon roll.

Kind of misses the point of the fast, don’t you think?

Fasting should change us in some way–move us to a place of greater holiness. It shouldn’t be something we do to torment ourselves for a while, only to revert to our former selves when it’s all over.

I believe it’s time to think beyond the ordinary Lenten penance. Why not give up a  specific sin instead?  In many ways, sin is a habit, a pattern of behavior. Selfishness, irritability, unkind words, gossip, gluttony–each of us struggles with the same sins again and again. Instead of choosing a specific item to forgo, why not choose one sin particularly troublesome to you and spend Lent focused on breaking its power over you?

This can be a great exercise for kids too, although they may need help, and that help must be given carefully. It’s important that we, the parents, not tell children what sins we think they need to address. True conversion happens from the inside out; it cannot be imposed by authority, however loving.

Penance, when heartfelt, is frequently a very private action and very difficult for people to share, even with those closest to them. Respect this. If a child is unwilling to share what he or she is giving up, that’s OK. As a parent, it’s tempting to feel that we must know everything our children are up to. But it’s also possible that a child (especially in the teen years) may want to be free of a habitual sin but is too afraid to admit it to his or her parents for fear of punishment. If your children are sincere enough to choose to work on something for Lent, rejoice, and allow them the freedom to make good choices of their own volition.

(Excerpted from Bring Lent to Life, with permission of Liguori Publications. Click here for more excerpts.)

Okay, folks, it’s time for a book giveaway! If you like what you see, leave a comment here between now and Feb. 5th and be entered to win a signed copy of Bring Lent to Life!

For extra entries, help me spread the word! Mention Bring Lent to Life on Twitter or Facebook (and mention me so I know about it!–Facebook: Kathleen M. Basi, Twitter: @kathleenmbasi). Better yet, refer people to this post. For each one you’ll get an additional entry. For every day you tweet or FB it, you get additional entries. On Feb. 6th my lovely little ones and I will do an old-fashioned, low-tech drawing and announce a winner.

Any questions? If not–go!

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50 thoughts on “Are you ready for Lent? (book giveaway!)

  1. I realy like this approach to lent. When I was in high school (well over 20 yrs ago), I gave up soda for lent because I was often having 6 or more a day. When Easter rolled around and I was “able” to have it again, I took one sip and couldn’t finish it. To this day, I still can’t have more than 1 or 2 in a day, and that’s only if I am REALLY craving the sugar or there is literally NOTHING else to drink. Most often, I just drink water and am satisfied. In my case, giving up a specific item worked, but most often, it does NOT. I’ve tried taking up something new that is helpful to others, but haven’t approached Lent with the sin approach…I think I’ve got a few weeks (evidently, four) to pray about what I should focus on this year. Thanks for the great idea and I hope to read the book!

    • Once I gave up Pepsi for Lent, when I was working at Taco Bell. I switched to Mountain Dew because I loathed it. (Why didn’t I switch to water? Because I was in high school. I was stupid.) Midway through the season I suddenly found that I liked it, and I realized it was about caffeine, so I went to Sprite, which I never did learn to like. But I didn’t give up for good. Not sure I learned anything from that. :)

  2. I enjoyed reading your excerpt and I looked at the link with more excerpts. Although I’m now a retired religious education director, I still enjoy seeing what’s out there for formation of children in the faith, either by parents or by catechists. Your books for parents fill a void. So many of today’s Catholic parents are clueless about Catholic practices such as you are describing. I will certainly pass the word as best I can.

  3. Only four weeks?! Oh, my. How time does fly. Your book looks lovely and sounds like some wonderful content. Lent is such a special time, always grateful for new ideas.

    Congratulations on such a lovely book!

  4. I like the idea of giving up a sin. I don’t know if it will be easier to give up a sin or chocolate. I am going to try it this year and see how it goes.

    This post is very inspirational!

  5. Katie

    I loved your Advent book, and I am very anxious to read this one as well. Thanks for being a great writer with excellent ideas :)

  6. Have been looking to get your book – so this is a great opportunity! I also shared a link of this on my FB :D Would love to get some ideas on how to start sharing Lent with my 3yr old & my 8month old.

  7. Barbara Brady

    Over the past few years, I usually give up chips & dip which I rarely eat now. I have had health issues due to excess weight and have begun loosing weight. Giving up a sin sounds like a wonderful idea. Eating unhealthy has added to my health problems, so I plan on giving up eating unhealthy foods, snacks, soda, etc. Thank you.

  8. Michele

    Today was my first visit to your website- I can tell I will become a frequent visitor. Love your ideas- thanks for sharing with the rest of us. Being a homeschool family I often struggle with being distracted with my work – during lent this year I hope to spend more “fun” time with the kids. We would love to read you book! God bless

  9. Diana

    Have read through part of it already…and shared it with my parents. Love it and plan to be very prepared for Lent when it gets here :)

  10. Jenni Rash

    My family and I have only been the church a little over 2 years. We would love to have this book so that we could learn more as a family.

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