In this 2012 Lenten season, there are many online tools which may help religious participants maintain their Lenten promises.
Although Lent is traditionally seen as a Catholic tradition which begins with Ash Wednesday and involves 40 days of fasting and repentance leading up to Easter, many Christians from all denominations use the Lenten time to practice acts of spiritual discipline and further strengthen their relationship with God.
Often times, participants of Lent will make a "Lenten promise," by abstaining from something in their life, whether it is alcohol, chocolate, or swearing, in an attempt to enhance their relationship with God.
The smartphone applications "40 Days Lent Observance Tracker" and "Count Your Blessings" help users maintain their Lenten promises, and even Pope Benedict XVI is using Twitter to remind followers of the reason for the Lenten season.
"Starting on Ash Wednesday, themes from that papal message will be posted on Twitter each day during Lent and over the coming months other papal speeches and documents are likely to be tweeted in a similar way, hoping to attract the media-savvy generation and entice them to find out more," Vatican Today News announced Wednesday.
The application "40 Days- Lent Observance Tracker," created by Samadhi Games, allows users to "track your commitment progress throughout the 40 Days of Lent," according to Apple's iTunes website.
The application, available for 99 cents on iTunes, features a calendar, adorned with Easter eggs, which allows the user to track their religious observances every day until Easter.
The application also features daily inspirational messages and images to remind the user of the importance of repentance during the 40 days of Lent.
The end of the Lenten season is marked by Easter, which occurs this year on April 8. On this day, the application features a celebratory screen with Lilly flowers, yellow and purple Easter eggs, and a cross.
According to the iTunes website, the application is still useful even after Lent has passed.
"After Easter, you can review your progress and choose how best to celebrate or atone," the website reads.
This is not the only social media platform preparing for Easter. As previously reported by The Christian Post, the Christian Aid organization and software programmer Alex Connell created the "Count Your Blessings" application just in time for Lent.
This app, available on the ChristianAid.org website or the Android App store, tracks the user's daily blessings, helping them remain grateful while practicing discipline during the Lenten season.
Although these social media reminders may enhance one's Lenten experience, critics contend that Christians must remember the true meaning of Lent: to strengthen one's relationship with God.