Sunday, March 6, 2011

We Love Lent!

I never said that as a kid, but as I told my priest recently, "If I could gain heaven from the sheer enthusiasm my kids have about the Lenten season, I would have won it by now!"  We all love Lent around here.  I think the kids like the challenge of giving up some of their favorite things.  The usual things are put aside like television, candy, gum, play dates.  But they also embrace beautiful, contemplative things like taking time to recite a decade or a whole rosary off by themselves in a quiet place, take extra time to read spiritual books,  or leaf through the pages of a Way of the Cross booklet.  They love doing a daily sacrifice or "going an extra mile" for someone else other than themselves.  We try harder to make it to daily Mass and go through the day as quietly as children (and adults) can.  Some days are harder than others, but we love burying the "Alleluia" and waiting and watching.  It's a beautiful time that even the seasons remind us of as trees with cold, bare branches start to warm up and bud in the few days before Easter.  This doesn't happen every year, but you know in your heart that it will eventually happen during the Easter Season.  It's just a matter of patiently waiting for it all to unfold.

Here are some of our favorite Lenten practices...

Stations of the Cross

Whether we go through them at our parish or at home, they are a tradition on Friday evenings during Lent.  At home, we line up 14 candles and take turns extinguishing them as we read each station and its prayers.  The kids love using the candle snuffer!



Lenten Sacrifice markers and Lenten sacrifice pledges

Last year we used wild rice to keep track of our sacrifices because it's black and "thorny."  We also replace our picture of the Good Shepherd with Jesus in his Agony in the Garden.  Our purple bowl holds the Lenten sacrifices that one of the family draws each day to add to our Lenten Calendar.




Our Lenten sacrifice pledges were posted last year, but this year we will fill out a Lenten worksheet found at Patch O' Dirt Farm's blog.  We will seal these up and leave them on our prayer table.



Lenten Calendars

These really help mark the days and help us look forward to things to come.



Lenten Teas

Last year we used the instructions at Alice Gunther's blog for a Lenten tea.  We hosted one other family and had a beautiful afternoon on Palm Sunday.  These can be found on my Family Formation page.  Just use the tab at the top.:)




The Feast of St. Joseph

We had a fun time with the Virtual Saint Joseph altars last year hosted by Evann.  We even made a paper St. Joseph table found at her website.  We hope she hosts one again this year!  UPDATE:  She is!!!


Family Missions

In 2008, we drove to Chicago during Holy Week and spent four days going door-to-door in one of the neighborhoods.  All of us joined in, except for Lucas and Gabe at the time.  I was pregnant with Jane, but even the cold didn't stop any of us.  We hit the streets and invited the parishioners in the neighborhood to attend the Triduum services at their parish.  It was the most fulfilling experience for our family.  We'll never forget it!


We hope this Lent finds you all one step (or maybe many!) closer to Christ.  Let's pray for each other.

2 comments:

  1. We had such a wonderful time with your family yesterday! Thank you so much for having us over for a fabulous Mardi Gras celebration.

    I'm hoping that we'll be all ready for Lent before we leave on Wednesday. Maybe (if I really get my act together) I'll even post something!

    Have a blessed week and beginning of Lent!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Prayers for you...for several different things.:) We love getting together with y'all...can't wait for the Seder!

    ReplyDelete

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