Lent began on Feb. 22, which is a 40-day period of prayer and penance in preparation for the Easter Triduum.

Let’s read St. Teresa of Avila’s four surprising tips for living Lent.

1) Concentration on the Essential: Christ

Teresa, with her life and her writings, has left us advice for experiencing Lent in a surprising way.

In particular, she recommended her spiritual daughters focus not so much on excessive fasting or renunciation, but on the essential: Jesus.

Neither the goal nor the spirit of Christian Lent tends to be “masochistic”– it is not a question of making sacrifices just to make them. It is the love of Jesus that gives meaning to our lives.

2) Prayer as Humble Dialogue

Prayer is so important in Lent. It consists of a very simple thing: “talking to Him whom we know loves us”.

With eyes focused on the love of Christ, the saint invites us to understand our reality. This is the true humility to which Lent invites you. “

Let us set our eyes on Christ, our good, and there we will learn true humility”.

3) Detachment from messy and selfish affections

From the love of Christ derives one of the most typical attitudes of Lent: detachment, or rather, the state of the soul, which frees itself from any inordinate and selfish affection towards anything or anyone other than God.

Detachment “does not mean suppression of any desire and aspiration, nor building a hard and insensitive heart, seeing that love is the first and greatest of duties. Love gives meaning to detachment”.

4) To concretely love thy neighbor

Preparing in Lent to live the mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus finally means living charity and concretely loving one’s neighbor. Saint Teresa writes that “true perfection is the love of God and neighbor, and the more we follow these two commandments perfectly, the more perfect we will be”.

Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us!

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[See also: “All Things Are Passing”: St. Teresa of Avila’s Powerful Prayer for Peace in Times of Distress]

[See also: Is the Avengers’ Infinity Gauntlet Actually St. Teresa of Avila’s Incorrupt Hand?]

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