Enter Lent, Insert Apps
Many of us have that little pocket computer misleadingly called a “phone” in our purses or pockets or hands. Here are three apps I’ll be using this year for Lent.
This free app, from the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (Focus, Focus.org/lentsanity/), is available for both iOS and Android phones. I discovered the “Lentsanity” app last year and found myself enjoying, once again, the fact that there is a younger crowd of creative people who think of these things. I mean, the name alone reflects a bit of how I feel about Lent: slightly insane, intimidated and excited-ish.
The idea: daily thoughts and resources to aid your Lenten journey. They’re categorized as prayer, #Lenthacks, virtue, sacrifices, learn the faith and faith in action. You’ll find Lenten recipes as well as cool graphics you can share across your social networks.
Maybe one of the best features is for those of us who may not be meatless already on Fridays: You get a notification before lunch and dinner on Fridays from the “Meat Police” to remind you not to eat meat.
Lectio Divina Lent
This free app, from the Diocese of Broken Bay, Australia, is also available for both iOS and Android.
Back in November, Barb Szyszkiewicz wrote about an intriguing lectio divina app for Advent at CatholicMom.com. When I checked it out, I noticed that there was a version available for Lent as well.
It’s a pretty straightforward app: Its purpose is to accompany you, not to distract you with technology away from the purpose of praying with Scripture.
If you’re not familiar with the practice of lectio divina, there’s an introduction and background information.
The reflective reading of the Scriptures leads us to know, understand and appropriate the fundamental Christian mysteries. It helps us to appreciate what we need to do to respond to God’s approach in them and holds up to us a mirror of how we are responding and what we might need to do to improve and deepen our response. It humbles us and makes us realize that we need God to walk with us on this journey.
There’s also an introduction to Lent itself that’s well worth a read.
We begin our Lenten journey, a time of letting go, as a time in the desert, as our weekly lectio reminds us, ending in the apparent hopelessness of Good Friday, but then the culmination of our baptismal promise in the ultimate hope of Christ’s resurrection.
If lectio divina is something you’re a bit intimidated by or if, like me, you may or may not have time to really sit down with it, this app can still be a companion for your Lent. The Sunday (and Ash Wednesday) readings are within the app. The reflections are also very good: Even if you’re not using it completely as it’s intended, you can still grow from what this app offers.
‘CRS Rice Bowl’
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) offers this free app for both iOS and Android.
Last year, I discovered the “CRS Rice Bowl” app (CRS.org/ricebowl-app/), and I’ve loved it ever since. I now consider it one of my Lenten must-haves. While we’ll still have a Rice Bowl on our kitchen table, and we’ll still toss in change and bills, I find the app is a way to make it personally come to life for me.
For one thing, there’s the option to keep track of my pledge. There’s also the ability to make a daily commitment and sacrifice and see the impact it has.
When my colleague and good friend Lisa Hendey traveled to Tanzania recently and shared about the huge difference a simple hoe makes for the farmers there, attributing it directly to Rice Bowl donations, I found myself even more committed to this seemingly simple Lenten practice.
The app, for me, makes it real in a new way. I expect this Lent to be a bit crazy for me, since I’m due with my current baby right around Holy Week. Between the daily reflections and the ability to determine my daily sacrifice as I go, I like that there will be something already figured out for me — one less thing that I have to plan and plot.
Another feature I really enjoy in the app is the “Stories of Hope.” This gives me a view of my brothers and sisters, those who I’m helping with what feels like my silly little sacrifices, those whose lives are changed with what seems to me to be simple efforts. There are videos and even meatless recipes from around the world, too.
The “CRS Rice Bowl” app gives me a new appreciation for our universal Church and the entirety of the body of Christ.
God bless your Lent!
Sarah Reinhard blogs at NCRegister.com.
- Feb. 22-March 7, 2015