Happy March! I’ve never been more excited to turn the calendar page, and I trust and hope this month will be easier on us weather-wise! I spent the weekend gathering items and gearing in preparation for this week. Ash Wednesday will usher in the 2014 Lenten season and the first step of the journey toward Resurrection, Easter Sunday. This year’s theme is “Give Up, Take Up, Lift Up” as explained by the USCCB:
“In his Lenten message for 2014, Pope Francis takes inspiration from the words of St. Paul (Cor 8:9), and asks us to contemplate Paul’s invitation to live “a life of evangelical poverty.” Embrace his call by fasting from or “giving up” material things, including food, superfluous to your basic needs; “taking up” charitable habits directed to helping and caring for others; and “lifting up”those in need through giving alms, praying and participating in devotional practices.
With the recent trip to Haiti with Food for the Poor still fresh in my mind, I’ve been praying for the Lord to till the soil of my soul in ways that will bear lasting fruit, not just momentary emotion. Between the sadness of hearing that precious little Francois died just days before he was to undergo surgery, and the constant struggle to balance the busyness of life, I have to say, this year I am ready for some time in the desert with Jesus. I’ve selected a few favorite books and decided (again) to work on my annual crusade against chocolate, so I feel pretty set to go for the most part. It’s the kids and family I always wonder/worry if I’m doing enough, or even (based on years past)..too much? I think/hope I found a good variety of things, and thankfully they don’t challenge my crafting skills too much!
First, is this very practical Lenten Prayer Chain. I got so far as to print the petitions, tonight’s objective: cut, paste, staple and assemble!
I love everything she creates at Catholic Inspired, and you can also find dozens more ideas with the Lenten Link up posted on the same page.
Next, is something that I thought of as I was out shopping and saw these cute little bags in the wedding section of a craft store. Something like: “My Little Lent Bag” for the boys.
We do many things to prepare for Easter as a family, but I’ve often wondered if the kids are also spending their own special time with the Lord, individually. Either way, hopefully these little bags will encourage that. Inside, I am placing certain scriptures that I think they would enjoy, and having that be something little they can memorize. Last year we also tried to learn the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) in Latin, and had about 85% success. We are going to attempt 100% this year, so I also printed out the Pater Noster as another item in their baggie. I’m hoping to get to the store and include a holy card or medal as the “goodie” and present them on Ash Wednesday. I’m really shooting for the sky by hoping to laminate the scriptures and prayers this week too…oh the pressure! We’ll see.
For my own journey, I’ve started a little Lenten library in addition to daily Bible readings, I’m hoping to make some headway with these books as well.
Jim has opted to read “The Rite.”
(Also listed is the 2014 Saints Calendar which is my schedule helpmate!:))
I’m also hoping to order “Lent and Easter Wisdom from Pope John Paul II” this week.
We’ve got other things sprinkled in, like Stations of the Cross and family rosary night, but I think that covers all the actual “prep.”
When it comes to movies, I gave Jim an assignment (since he is usually the tech/entertainment guy) to track down a few edifying but good quality family films for us to enjoy. Here’s a copy of his e-mail response to me today:
The Scarlet and Black – iTunes to buy only
The Mission – |Amazon rental $1.99
Grace Unplugged – Amazon $3.99
Karol: A Man Who Became Pope
Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story – iTunes rental $1.99
Finally, something else worth mentioning is the USCCB Lent Calendar for daily inspiration. You can view and print it, here.
Since the culmination of our Lenten journey will end not only at the empty Tomb in Israel, but at St. Peter’s Square in Rome this year, it’s an intense combination. We depart on Easter Sunday for a trip to Italy that will include the canonization of Bl. John Paul II and John XXIII on Divine Mercy Sunday. It’s still hard to believe the trip is actually happening, and the boys are positively over the moon not only at the prospect of going someplace “exotic” but to fly on a real airplane!:) Life is so much fun through the eyes of a child, I can’t get enough of their joy about it.
Thanks for sticking through this really long post. I pray you have a holy, and happy Lent experience. My apologies for any awful errors on today’s blog, my proofreading time just vanished as Gus is awake and playing the harmonica in his room and shouting at me! Ha ha. God bless you.