Can your smartphone bring you closer to God?
There’s no denying that smartphones can be isolating and distracting. Staring at that screen causes the world to disappear. Meaningful human interaction is often replaced with a stream of likes and shares.
It’s no surprise, then, that some choose to give up smartphones or social media for Lent. After all, Lent is a season for reflection, purifying our hearts and minds, drawing nearer to Christ and sharing in His life, death and resurrection. Eliminating such a tantalizing distraction as a smartphone can help you find the right mindset. And given our society’s addiction to being connected, giving up social media could be a meaningful, positive sacrifice.
On the other hand, phones can also be a tool to bring people together and focus attention. They can encourage fellowship with friends and family, and your phone could be a resource for mindful reflection instead of an escape into mindless activity. How? By downloading a helpful Lent app.
If you choose to use your smartphone to grow closer to God this Lenten season, these android and iPhone apps can help you on your journey.
The 7 Lent Apps for Staying on Track
1. CRS Rice Bowl
The four crucial elements of Lent are prayer, fasting, learning about the faith, and almsgiving. This app from Catholic Relief Services can help you with all four, with an emphasis on giving, an element that can be easy to overlook.
Rice Bowl makes it easy to give alms that support feeding hungry people in the U.S. and around the world. At the same time, the app supports the other three elements as well, with weekly prayer bulletins, recipes for meatless Fridays, and teachings on the history and practice of Lent.
There’s a reason this app is known as the “#1 Free Catholic App.” It’s a portal to a vast amount of resources Catholics can use every day. Lent is a perfect opportunity to begin exploring the readings, prayers, and other resources available.
Start with the interactive rosary, Stations of the Cross, Liturgy of the Hours, and daily readings. As the season progresses, you can enrich your prayer life by exploring dozens of different prayers. Bookmark your favorites and they’ll be added to a “My Prayers” folder for easy access. The Daily Examination of Conscience is another powerful way to maintain the proper mindset for the season.
3. Lenten Magnificat Companion 2018
Magnificat has a well-deserved reputation as an indispensable daily resource for devout Catholics. Their monthly publication features daily Mass, writings from the saints and contemporary authors, morning and evening prayers, and more.
The publication creates a new Lenten companion every year, and it’s well worth the nominal fee ($2.99 for iOS, $1.99 for Android). It’s an eBook more than an app, but what it lacks in interactivity it more than makes up for in beautifully designed and presented daily prayers, essays, devotions, meditations, and more.
4. 40 Days Without…
The purpose of the Lenten season is a shifting of focus away from self and into the mind of Christ. Some choose to give up a vice, simple pleasure, or creature comfort as part of that process. But more important than what you may choose to give up is what you choose to take its place.
This simple app helps change your focus throughout the season. You can list the things you’re choosing to give up, and the things you’re doing more of, and track progress throughout the season. Daily reminders can help keep you on track and keep you mindful of your purpose. (iOS only)
5. Daily Readings for Catholics
This Catholic app does one thing and does it well: It presents readings from the Daily Mass, with commentary from historical and contemporary Catholic leaders. It’s perfect for a quick read to start your day on the right path.
You can even have the app read the text out loud to hear the day’s readings while you’re getting ready in the morning, or even on the drive to work.
6. iBreviary TS Plus
iBreviary is an encyclopedic collection of Church texts, organized for daily reading. It includes the Liturgy of the Hours, the Missal, biblical texts, and rites. It also features a wide variety of prayers for different occasions and needs — perfect for adding variety to your prayer life and keeping you in the spirit of the season.
7. Pray As You Go
The Lenten season is an opportunity to begin habits that can carry on throughout the year. This app can help create the habit of spending 10-15 minutes a day in deep, thoughtful prayer. Every day, the app for both android and iPhones provides a guided prayer session including music, scripture, and contemplation questions.
The Jesuit monks who designed the app call it a “framework for your own prayer,” rather than a devotion or bible study. As such, it’s an excellent companion to the liturgies and prayers in some of the other apps on this list. The app also includes audio versions of the Stations of the Cross, Rosary, and several more readings.
Can You Hear Him Now?
This Lenten season, don’t let your smartphone be a distraction from drawing nearer to Christ. Use these spiritual and Catholic apps to spend more time each day in prayer and spiritual contemplation, to track your spiritual progress, and to stay in the mindset of commemorating Christ’s sacrifice and celebrating His Resurrection.
For more inspiration, here are some suggested books and reflections from Leaflet Missal:
We wish you a reflective and happy Lenten season.