st century woman that I am, I know the Internet will get me out of a tight spot and offer dozens of great ideas for observing Lent, both with my children and by myself.
- A Lenten prayer chain
is a great idea. Little kids can cut out the strips and we’ll call it “fine motor skill development”; middle kids can print out the prayer intentions and it’ll be handwriting class; and big kids can be in charge of coming up with the people and intentions to pray for, and it’ll be religion class. Plus, after making it, no one can accuse me of being skimpy on the craft time. - Sacrifice Chests. My kids all have wooden chests that store their treasures. We can spend an hour writing out simple ways to put the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy into action
, and each day they can draw one from the chest. - Commit to weekly adoration. As a convert, I had absolutely no concept of adoration before entering the Church. And once there, for a long time I thought that adoration could only take place during formal exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. I’m sort of embarrassed to admit that it took me years to realize that I could go to my parish any time, kneel in silence before the Tabernacle, and adore God. Try making a commitment this Lent to a weekly visit to Jesus in the tabernacle. Leave for work 15 minutes early and stop at a parish on your way. Dare to do the intimidating and bring your children along
. - Pick up some spiritual reading material
. I’ve had the notion of doing some sort of Lenten meditations around The Screwtape Letters
for some time, and this study guide
looks interesting. - Dust off your prayer life. Start simply. Even if it’s just deliberately repeating Jesus’ name in the quiet of your heart
. Teach your children the “ 5 Finger Prayer
”. Commit to saying grace before meals- every meal. For many of us, saying grace in a restaurant is a truly heroic act of bravery. - Fast from something other than food or drink
. Remember, the fast in and of itself is a spiritually neutral thing. There is nothing inherently holy about giving things up. Fasting only yields results if it acts as an attention reset, causing you turn your thoughts to God, who is the source of all goodness. A woman I know often fasts from ice cubes in her drinks. This sounds like a ridiculously small thing, until you realize that the woman in question lives in Mississippi, and she saves this particular fast for the summer months. That said, you can imagine how often that small sacrifice yanks her attention back to God. - Concretely unite yourself to the sufferings of the poor. Take the Food Stamp Challenge
during Lent, and donate your surplus grocery budget to charity.