In just a few days, Catholics across America will begin the Lenten season, a 40-day period of prayerful reflection and, for many, a time of fasting and temporary denial of chocolate, wine or Starbucks. While there’s no empirical data on how many Catholics give up chocolate and quickly fall off the wagon, there’s anecdotal evidence to suggest it does occur. So instead of giving up Diet Coke and sweets this Lent, Jesuits are urging fellow Catholics to add something — like a few minutes of prayer with the 3-Minute Retreat from Loyola Press, a ministry of the Jesuits, one of the largest Catholic religious orders in the world.
The 3-Minute Retreat is a daily online retreat that offers users the chance to pause, reflect on a Scripture passage and spend quiet time with God in the midst of the busy Lenten season. Available online, on Facebook, and on the iPad and iPhone, the 3-Minute Retreat can be enjoyed anywhere: while waiting in the grocery line, sipping coffee at a café, or sitting at your desk.
For those looking for something new this Lenten season, the Jesuits suggest adding prayer and a daily 3-Minute Retreat for self-reflection. St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, advocated setting aside time for reflection and prayer. He encouraged an examination of consciousness, a simple form of prayer directed toward developing a spiritual sensitivity to the special ways God approaches, invites and calls.
Wisely, Ignatius kept it simple, encouraging those interested in developing their spiritual lives to:
– Become aware of God’s presence
– Review the day with gratitude
– Examine how you have lived this day
– Choose one feature of the day and pray from it
– Look toward tomorrow
Loyola Press is running a special campaign for Lent called +3 Minutes for Lent, in which Catholic contributors like best-selling author Jesuit Father James Martin, Harvard Social Media Officer Matthew Weber, and online magazine Busted Halo, will offer 40 days of unique reflections and prayers based on the 3-Minute Retreat. Check 3-Minute Retreat’s Facebook page for the first reflection from Fr. James Martin, on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22: www.facebook.com/3MinuteRetreat.