In honor of this recent post, I’ve decided to include seven ideas for living Lent as my quick takes for this week. Stop by Jen’s Conversion Diary for more nuggets of fun, wit, and/or wisdom. Also, keep Jen in your prayers as baby number 4 will be in her arms by Monday!
Pray for willingness. If you’re anything like me, you sometimes know what you should do in a certain situation, but you resist. Ask God today for the willingness to relent and to do what must be done as well as for the grace to do it well.
To make Lent more meaningful for your entire family, make a clay crown of thorns. As your family members perform their Lenten penances, almsgiving, and/or acts of kindness, remove a thorn (AKA toothpick) from the crown. This serves as reminder that our sins don’t only hurt ourselves and others, but they wound Jesus, too. Yet at the same time, God never gives up on us, and our offerings, sacrifices, and good deeds give him comfort. Make it your family’s goal to have all the thorns disappear by Easter. Use the crown as your dining room centerpiece. On Holy Saturday, consider glorifying the crown by decorating it with flowers as a sign of hope in the resurrection.
*I shared two other Lenten activities for kids here.
Fast from your favorite food, but do it for the right reasons. I used to always give up sweets, including my favorite indulgence of dark chocolate for Lent, but my motives behind this sacrifice weren’t all that noble. Admittedly, the main reason for my self-deprivation was the fact that the season of skimp was right around the corner and I wanted to look better in my shorts, tanks, and swimsuit. Terribly vain, I know. I still do give up sweets (we actually try to ban all the sweet stuff as a family), but it’s not the main focus of my Lenten resolutions, and I do it as a way to invite God to fill the other hungers of my heart. Likewise, I try to really notice and appreciate the taste of other food.
Pick a random fellow blogger (not necessarily one who observes Lent or is even Christian) and pray for him or her.
Help carry someone’s cross. Be a Simon of Cyrenean and reach out to a friend, family member, co-worker, or neighbor in need. Offer to clean someone’s house. Bring a meal to a sick friend or a new mom. Take a lonely companion out to lunch or invite him or her over for afternoon tea.
Bless your children. Take a moment with each child to make eye contact with her and to cuddle with her (if they’re still tolerant of Mom’s smothering arms). Tell your child you love him and also tell him why (share at least one reason he’s special to you). Then bless your child’s forehead.
Carve out an extra 10 minutes for prayer and meditation each day.
How do you plan to “live” Lent this year?