Thursday, February 7, 2013

Getting Ready for Lent

I cannot believe how quickly Lent has come upon us. It is early next year, Ash Wednesday being next Wednesday. This is the time of year we remember that "dust we are and to dust we shall return." In the forty days prior to the Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord (otherwise known as Easter Sunday), we are invited to face our humanity. Our dustiness. Our dirt that we've let settle in our spiritual lives. The liturgical color given to this Season is purple, a color depicting sorrow and penitence. During these forty days that the Church has set as the Season of Lent, we are able to look through and examine ourselves. We are offered a set season to intentionally focus on preparing ourselves inside and out for the Beauty that is Holy Week, a time to abstain from things in order to better clear our minds, bodies, hearts, and souls.

Lent is the perfect time, as a family and as an individual, to set new habits in gear, to learn new prayers, to study the Bible more, to serve and offer mercy and charity, and to all around reflect on one's Christian walk and how we can better it. It is a perfect time to be very honest with oneself. I have been thinking this whole past week about how we, as a family, and how I might set goals for what we shall do as well as decide on things from which we will fast.

Here are two posts from last year of how we set aside preparing ourselves for Easter during the season of Lent: Feasting Before the Fast and Celebrating Lent as a Family.

This year, we will celebrate Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday with a Feast of Feasts, to finish off the meat in our household before we abstain as a family throughout Lent. And, of course, a lovely King's Cake to finish off the meal. And then Ash Wednesday, upon which we'll venture off to mass to receive a gritty sign on our foreheads to remind us of our humanity.

As we work through the 40 Days of Lent, here are some disciplines we plan to add to our lives:
  • Make Pretzel rolls - Pretzels are a common fasting food, and the shape reminds us of arms folded in prayer
  • Memorize the Prayer, the Anima Christi, as a family. Last year, Dom worked on memorizing the Guardian Angel prayer, and now we've made that a part of his naptime + bedtime prayers.
  • Bless someone (or someones) we know with either a meal or baked goods
  • Pray the Rosary - I want to try for once daily myself, and hopefully once a week as a family.
  • Stations of the Cross Eggs - this DIY guide from Catholic Icing to making your own eggs that tell the story of the 14 Stations are perfect for any child to better grasp the steps. We'll be working to collect the pieces as we work our way through Lent.
  • Holy Week Calendar - to be made during Holy Week with Dom to help him better understand the importance of that week.
  • Get thee to Confession.
  • Keep up with a devotional. I obtained Lent With the Saints: Daily Meditations and I'm hoping to get each days devotion in with my morning coffee.

Also go check out my ever favorite Carrots for Michaelmas for Haley's latest on Preparing for Lent and this epic-ly long, yet equally epic-ly awesome post from Karen Edmisten - it has ideas, whys, hows, you name it. Just go read them.

I'd love to hear ways that your family observes the Season of Lent and practices and traditions you've made a part of your family's life. Please share! It's encouraging to see what others have thought up.

Note that abstaining meat is not a Church-wide practice or requirement - rather you are only asked to sacrifice meat on Fridays during Lent. As a family, we choose to not eat meat or desserts throughout the whole of Lent, with exception of a few Feast days and if we are being hosted by another family, who is preparing the meal. Our children eat meat with their lunches as well to maintain proper nutritional balance.

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This post Getting Ready for Lent first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 7 February 2013


  1. Any suggestions for couples to observe Lent?

    1. David + I generally give up the same food related items, depending on pregnancy/nursing and whether it's wise to do so for me. We then try to do some sort of daily reading together - whether from Bible or a spiritual book. Sometimes we read separately and then discuss it together when we can. This year I think we'll try to pray the rosary together as often as we can.
      I think of Lent as a great time to look over how one is giving to and building up their marriage, so I try and will be trying to look for ways I can improve my side of our relationship.

      Hope this helps! I'd love to know ways you are observing Lent in your marriage!

  2. Thanks for the mention and kind words!
    And I just have to say that you have two amazingly cute little boys. :)

    1. You're very welcome - thank *you* for compiling so much wonderful info! I have learned so much from your posts (both on Lent and other subjects!).

      And thanks, I think they're pretty cute myself.

  3. Love these ideas, Sarah...this is the first year that my son has really been old enough to participate in Lent with us, so I'm looking for ways to involve him. It's so helpful to see what other moms of little ones are doing. I'm working on my own post and would love to link back to yours, if that's ok?

    1. Hi Abbey! So glad I've been able to inspire you a little. You can definitely link back to me. I'm honored. I hope you and your son have a meaningful Lent together with your family. Blessings!

  4. This is a great post. So many times, hubby and I end up giving up something and it turns into a bit of a tragic failure (as you can see here: I love the ideas you have...thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Jen! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope the ideas aid you some. We definitely aren't perfect here - thus far we're a good ways into Lent and still haven't done half the things I'd hoped. We are growing and reflecting and learning and seeking, so in that sense, we have been successful.

      By the way, your blog has some great activities, so thanks for including the link - it got me started on a link clicking frenzy. =) Love the Stations of the Cross magnets!


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