Lent is a season of grace so we should look upon this time with great expectation and anticipation and not with sadness or gloom. (See Mt 6:1-18) (it is not a lifetime – it is only 40 days!) It is a time to look soberly at our life and assess the ways we need and desire to change and the ways we need to grow more deeply into our relationship with God. It is a time to turn from preoccupation with ourselves and to surrender more completely to God’s ways with us. It is a time to be in the desert with Jesus, to hear Him speak to our hearts.
For guidance, we may consider the thoughts of Pope Benedict XVI who chose to focus this year on the Lenten practice of fasting. (click on http://www.zenit.org/article-24990?l=english)
Our Holy Father says that Jesus, through prayer and fasting, prepared Himself for the mission that lay before Him. If you are considering your life’s vocation this might be a wonderful way to say to Jesus: “I am serious, Lord, about following your plan for my life.” In the Scriptures, fasting was a sign of the sincerity of God’s people.
The Holy Father says that fasting is a “therapy” to heal all that prevents us from conforming to the will of God. It assists us to mortify our egoism and open our hearts to love of God and neighbor. “Voluntary fasting enables us to grow in the spirit of the Good Samaritan, who bends low and goes to the help of his suffering brother.”
"May every family and Christian community use well this time of Lent, therefore, in order to cast aside all that distracts the spirit and grow in whatever nourishes the soul, moving it to love of God and neighbor. I am thinking especially of a greater commitment to prayer, lectio divina, recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and active participation in the Eucharist, especially the Holy Sunday Mass."
For more on Lent here are some additional links: http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=32171