“I’m participating in the Keeping LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013, hosted by Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints, Truly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We’ll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of link-up entries.”
“Love makes sacrifice easy, and perfect love makes sacrifice a joy.” – St. Augustine
I love that quote from St. Augustine. And so perfect a reminder in this Season of Lent. True that at times, we find it easy to give up something for someone, for a certain intention, or for whatever reason we may have. But most of the time, it is not easy at all. Especially if it is giving up something we truly love or like having, something we are used to. Hard because it will take us away from our comfort zone. But remembering that quote from St. Augustine somehow helps us to rethink and refocus. Mortification is giving up something with the right intention and for the right intention. It requires action. Someone once told me that mortification is to deny ourselves of something. It may be as simple as giving up eating your favorite ice cream, taking the bus instead of a cab, or even getting the wing part of the roasted chicken instead of the legs (if your favorite is the leg part). There are a thousand ways of doing mortification. Simple or grand. But the important thing is the intention and the attitude.
Just a few days before Ash Wednesday, I came across this calendar from Brother Richie Yap‘s site. And I was so thankful to have found it. Sure we can have our own list of deeds, but sometimes it is also good to get help from someone or something. And it is all up to us how we do it. It was just timely as the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, on our way home after attending mass, my daughter started mentioning to us what she plans to give up this Lent. And that started our conversation inside the car. My two sons were also thinking. My husband and I gave some suggestions as we also told them what we ourselves also plan to give up. These things we always get to discuss as a family. I am so thankful that my kids are open to this kind of thing and family discussion. And seeing the calendar that Brother Richie posted on his site, instantly made me print it. It is a calendar of good deeds that we can follow for the whole season of Lent. Of course these are just suggestions, but I find it very helpful as it can serve as a guide to our family. Each one can follow it at his or her own situation. And I am sharing it here, maybe you can also take a look at it and see if you can use it as a guide as well.
I have printed this calendar and pinned it in our bulletin board for everyone to see. Everyday, each one of us takes a look at it and decide for ourselves how we will be able to follow it or apply it depending on each one’s situation. We are free to change it, add or deduct. Nobody is forced to follow it. But we try to encourage and support each one.
We also have this tradition in our family when we do Visita Iglesia on Holy Thursday. We pray as a family in front of the Blessed Sacrament that is exposed in each of the seven churches we visit. We have been doing this since our kids were small and I intend to keep it until they grow up and pass on this tradition to their own families as well. We also invite their cousins to come with us. And we have been doing the Visita Iglesia with their cousins for the last three years. This is one activity that they always look forward to.
There are different ways to prepare for Lent and different activities to do during the Lenten Season. But whatever we do, however we do it, the important thing is to do everything for Love. Always remembering the true meaning of Lent.
“The Church’s Lenten discipline is meant to help deepen our life of faith and our imitation of Christ in his paschal mystery. In these forty days may we draw nearer to the Lord by meditating on his word and example, and conquer the desert of our spiritual aridity, selfishness and materialism. For the whole Church may this Lent be a time of grace in which God leads us, in union with the crucified and risen Lord, through the experience of the desert to the joy and hope brought by Easter.” – Pope Benedict XVI
Few days back, I have written about my Lenten Reads. You may want to read it, too.
How about you, what family traditions and activities do you do during the Season of Lent? Would love to hear from you.