Whether you love Lent or you hate Lent, it will be here next week. (NEXT WEEK!) Certain people I know will be enjoying this as the last Friday for seven weeks when they can eat meat. Others are gushing about all the prayer, fasting, and almsgiving they can do. And some are planning crazy impossibilities and bracing themselves for failure.
(I may or may not have identified with all three of those categories.)
I’ve shared before how I’m planning to prepare our family this year. The bottom line: Let God drive that bus so we avoid a train wreck. 😉
But after I wrote that post, I had more thoughts. Because technology. Is. Everywhere. And why not use it?
One way I’ve approached Lent in the past is to completely delete time-waster apps from my phone — the idea being that I can then use all that extra time for prayer. Or family time. Or at least not wasting time on a screen.
Here are a few apps I’ve found helpful for each of the three pillars of Lent. I’d love to hear your suggestions for apps that have helped you in Lent, too!
Prayer during Lent
Echo is an app I use every day, all day. When I tell someone I’m going to pray for them, I enter it in the app, which takes about 15 seconds. I’ve set it up to remind me at set times through the day — certain times are for the same prayers every day (a daily consecration to Mary in the morning, for example) and other times are for the “shuffle.” That means I get a reminder at 10 AM to pray for someone/something. I pause when I hear the ding and pray a Hail Mary for that intention. In the event that I miss it, my phone saves the reminder, so I can pray it later.
You can also sit down with this app, set a timer, and pray. It will advance through your prayers randomly or in the order you’ve entered (you can pick) after 2 minutes or whatever time you’ve picked, and at the end of the total time, it will tell you you’re done.
There’s room for a lot of personalization and finagling with this app, but what keeps me using it is how simple it is. It gives me a way to pray throughout the day without setting an alarm that I forget to turn off.
Prayer Notebook is another prayer organizer app that’s come to my attention. Down side: It’s only on iOS devices (sorry, Android folks!). It allows you to categorize prayers, assign contacts and photos to your prayers, and schedule prayers daily, weekly, monthly, or on a specific day. You can set up a reminder alert to remind you to pray at a specific date and/or time. You can also send messages to your contacts when you’ve prayed for them. (I’m going to be trying this out during Lent!)
Fasting during Lent
CatholicMom.com isn’t an app, but the website is mobile-friendly, so I’m counting it. Over the years, the Meatless Fridays feature at CatholicMom.com has been something I’ve come back to and used: every Friday there’s at least one new meatless recipe shared. We’re a mac-and-cheese and tomato-soup-and-grilled-cheese kind of family, but I have hopes that we may move beyond that someday. (I may also be dreaming. But how can I not dream when I see those easy, yummy recipes posted each week?)
In case you find yourself not just craving a juicy burger on a Friday of Lent, but — GASP — forgetting that it’s Lent and that you can’t/shouldn’t have that burger, here’s a handy dandy (rather hilarious) app from FOCUS: Lentsanity. Install it, and brace yourself. The Meat Police will remind you (at the times you set) that it’s a Friday in Lent and that NO, YOU CANNOT EAT THAT MEAT. It may sound annoying, but if you’re like certain people I know and you need a smile on that Friday without bacon, then here you go. (And if you don’t find yourself craving meat except on a Friday in Lent, this is also good for you, too.)
Almsgiving during Lent
That rice bowl that’s been a staple of Lent for generations of Catholics is no longer limited to the cardboard box that only my husband can put together. Nope, it’s now an app! What I love: You can use it in a variety of ways. You can commit to a certain amount and just donate flat out. But you can also use it daily. For example, one year, I gave the price of a large coffee every time I didn’t get one. Or when I didn’t go out to lunch and I would have, I calculated that and put it into the app.
But wait, there’s more! You’ll find meatless recipes and daily reflections that give you an inside look at the work Catholic Relief Services does around the world.
Do you have a link or resource to share? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share it in a future issue!