Lent

12 Feb

It seems that my newsfeeds and status updates are all abuzz with, “What are you giving up for Lent?” from both Catholics and non-Catholics.  Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of the season of Lent, and my prayer time as of late has been discerning what God wants myself and my family to do to draw closer to Him this upcoming Lenten season. 

In the Catholic Church, we focus on fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.  The purpose of these three precepts is to draw closer to God.  As Pope Benedict reminded a papal audience back in 2011, “fasting is not just to deprive yourself but to lead a more moderate life.”  He asked everyone to give alms and do good deeds for others as well as stressing the importance of pious and intense prayers during Lent.  Over the years, I have really tried to take a serious look at what is going to help me re-prioritize my life and better order it to God.  This year, this is the plan:

Fasting:  I’m giving up all social media.  I have admitted to my problem of “Quick checks” which distract me and keep me from the ordered school day that I believe is so important to homeschooling well and running the house with love and care.  Too often, I get sucked in and then find myself scrambling to get to dos done.  I need to swing the pendulum the other way so that I can find a resting place that is more moderate.  As silly as this sounds, I know this will be a challenge for me.

As a family, we are “giving up” bad behaviors.  We all have character flaws that need to be worked on so that we can love, serve, and treat one another with the respect that is deserved—always.  In my training with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program, I have come to understand that it is difficult for little ones to grasp fully the purpose of giving up something to draw closer to God.  Young children are already ordered to love God completely.  Instead of asking them to give up sweets or a toy, we are all choosing to work on behaving—with our words and our actions—more Christ-like.  Our main focus this year is to “Use Kind Word Always.”  We are all guilty of needed to shape up in this area.

Almsgiving:  Each Lent, the kids and I go to the grocery store and stock up on canned goods for our local food pantry.   Daily, the kids place canned goods into our Lenten almsgiving box.  They love to do this.   We also provide them with the opportunity to to earn money for our local crisis pregnancy centers by doing extra chores around the house.  We take money from our monthly grocery budget to provide these items, which encourages us to plan simpler meals and less treats. 

Prayer: To increase my time in much needed prayer, I’m also fasting from extra obligations. I know many do more in Lent, but I’m looking to do less. I know my limits very well, and I have been finding myself getting pushed over them more than I can handle lately.  The results aren’t good. This Lent, I’m stopping my work after a set time each night, turning the phone and computer off and planning to spend quiet time reading and in prayer.  More than anything, I am looking forward to this time every night.  My soul has been uneasy lately and I am desperate for a chance to spend this much needed quiet time.

So there is the plan.  As always, it is written in pencil and I’m giving the eraser to God, asking Him to show me how and where He wants our family to grow in holiness.  May you all have a blessed Lent.

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One Response to “Lent”

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  1. And this was Lent, huh? | His New Day - March 24, 2013

    […] my heart, mind, body, and soul for this great celebration.  I’ve written before about my Lenten plans, the biggest of which in my mind was to slow down and take more time to […]

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