It's hard to believe that we're halfway through Lent already, but Thursday of the Third Week of Lent marks the midpoint of this season of preparation for Easter. For that reason, on this coming Sunday--known as Laetare Sunday or Rose Sunday--the Church will lighten the austerity of Lent a bit and uses rose vestments instead of purple.
As we begin the second half of Lent, it's time to take stock of our Lenten journey. Have you gone to Confession, in preparation for making your Easter duty? How are you progressing toward your goals? If you still haven't set any, now is the time to do so.
Three very simple activities can help you stay on the right track this Lent. Two are prayers that are commonly prayed by Eastern Catholics (and Eastern Orthodox) during this season: the Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian and the Jesus Prayer. Both are easy to memorize; the Prayer of St. Ephrem makes a good prayer for mornings and evenings, and the Jesus Prayer helps keep our thoughts focused on our Lenten journey throughout the day.
The third activity, Daily Scripture Readings for Lent, is best when you have ten minutes or so of quiet time to reflect. In our house, we read the daily reading at the dinner table, after saying Grace After Meals. (Since children are often ready to jump up from the table as soon as they're done eating, check out these Tips for Lenten Reading With Your Children.)
And remember—if you get distracted and find that you're not making as much progress as you wish this Lent, there's always tomorrow. Begin each day with a Morning Offering, firmly resolving to concentrate on your Lenten discipline, and let God take care of the rest. As St. John Chrysostom reminds us in a famous Easter homily which is read in Eastern Orthodox and many Eastern Rite Catholic churches on Easter, it is never too late to get our spiritual house in order--both the man who has fasted from the beginning of Lent and the one who only fasts for a day at the end share in the joy of Easter.