Lent is in 5 (!!!) days, beginning with Ash Wednesday on the 18th and carrying through until Easter Sunday. Our family has tried many ideas through the year and has established a few that we love as Ortiz family traditions. In lieu of a long post documenting each and every one, I figured I'd share some that are fairly simple to encourage the whole family to join in for.
Walk Through Lent with a Map
This is the first things my kids remembered when I mentioned Lent was coming soon: Catholic Icing's Lenten Calendar. It's free, printable, and can be daily colored in or marked with a sticker. It is such a wonderful way to see yourself moving through Lent closer to the Passion of Holy Week and Our Lord's Resurrection. Follow the link above to print your own!
Another great time marker is a Countdown Chain similar to the one we do for Advent.
Simplify Your Menu
Only Fridays during Lent require abstinence from meat, and only Ash Wednesday and Good Friday call adults to fast. However, there are ways you can still include your kids in the fasting. We don't eat a lot of meat most weeks, so we try to go meatless during all of Lent, at least for dinner. As a family, we also do not eat sweets during the week.
A simple approach could be no dessert on weekdays or adding another meatless meal on another night.
Here are two fantastic posts about what to do about Sundays:
"Let Us Keep the Fast?" What to do about Sundays during Lent Daniel Stewart of Daniel Bearman: Acts of Idiot Praise
Sundays in Lent: We Can't ALL Be Right About This by Kendra at Catholic All Year
Need ideas for Meatless meals? I've got you covered!
A Collection of Meatless Meals for Lent
More Meatless Meals!
10 Meatless Lunch Ideas
Practice Serving One Another
We all take a part in this as we practice learning more about what love means throughout Lent. We talk about sacrifice a lot and put this into action by serving one another. In looking forward to Christ's ultimate sacrifice and display of Love on the cross, we try to put selfless actions into our days.
For younger kids, this could mean sharing a toy. 4-6 year olds? Helping clear somebody else's plate at dinner. My boys made Lenten Sacrifice Jars last year and look forward to putting them to good use by daily looking for ways to love and serve around the house.
A new one for us this year. For myself I'm going to practice some discipline in getting up early enough to pray with David before he leaves for work. Leila Lawler in The Little Oratory: A Beginner's Guide to Praying in the Home encourages you to invite your children to pray with you, and even if they refuse at first, they might be inclined to join if the invitation is always there.
Our plan is to do one of the offerings for the Liturgy of the Hours, but whatever is best suited to your family works: the rosary (a decade or the whole thing), the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Angelus - the list goes on and on!
For more info on praying the Liturgy of the Hours, check out this site. You can buy the Liturgy of the Hours 4-Volume Set or the shorter: Christian Prayer: Liturgy of the Hours. My husband got me a subscription to the Magnificat, so that's how we will be praying.
Pray the Stations of the Cross
Our homeschool group has set up a kid friendly one, but you can join in at any parish around that is praying the Stations. Usually they are held on Fridays from what I have seen. Anotehr idea is just to pray them within your home. Bonnie over at A Knotted Life has an awesome craft to make your own Stations of the Cross box, so your children can have something tactile to pass around while praying.
Empty out Closets and Toy Boxes
Ann Marie at White House, Black Shutters hosts an annual clean up called 40 Bags in 40 Days in which you declutter your whole house during Lent. As I've already been in the process of going through each part of our home during 2015, this seems like a great way to stay focussed, give away what we don't use, prep for some garage sale selling, and all around minimize what we have acquired over time.
Celebrate the Feasts Within
Aside from the mini Feasts of Sunday, there are also a few feasts to be found throughout Lent. These include:
St. Patrick's Feast Day, memorial (March 17)
St. Joseph's Feast Day, solemnity (March 19)
The Annunciation of Our Lord, solemnity (March 25)
Don't forget to make note of these and enjoy these so called "breaks" from the solemnness of Lent.
You can also check out my piece from last year:
Do you have any traditions that your family is able to delve into Lent together with?
Hope your Lent with your family is a most blessed time of reflection, repentance, and learning to love all the more!
Linking up with my fave, Kelly, for 7 Quick Ts!
Photo for Stations of the Cross: First stained glass window in the north aisle, depicting the scenes Our Lord condemned to Death (upper section) and Venerable Oliver Plunkett condemned to Death.Killarney Cathedral. Photo by Andreas F. Borchert
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This post 7 Simple Ways to Make it Through Lent as a Family first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 13 February 2015