I find that every year at this time, I dread Lent as much as I look forward to it. I remember the times that I didn't put much effort into my fasting, prayer and alms giving, but I also remember more clearly the times of grace when I placed my energy into finding what Christ was calling me to do and to give up (or at least limit) in my life. This season I want to throw myself in head first.
One thing that can not be left off the Lenten list is time in prayer, time before the Blessed Sacrament and receiving the Eucharist at Mass. As a woman and as a wife and mother I have found that we have been given a gift in our femininity to give and give until their is nothing left... (sometimes we complain along the way), but nevertheless, we are really good at giving of ourselves. Because this is the case, we look to be filled back up in so many ways... and it is freeing when we realize that the only thing, only person, who can fill us up is Christ in the Eucharist. He is there waiting for us. He is there totally pouring Himself out to us. This is where we refill.
I have also found that as a wife and mother, we have to look very closely at the practical things that help us obtain virtue. I can not even begin to find patience, to find kindness, to find charity without sleep. We have to take care of ourselves so we can properly take care of our little people and the man of our dreams ;) Sleep is a priority in so many ways. It would then allow us to have the energy to get out and about in the fresh air, be motivated to have more dance parties, clean house, workout... and all the rest. It is a non-negotiable when it comes to virtue. Lent is a good time to reset a bedtime... and ignore the dishes, the TV, the internet... and whatever other night time guilty pleasures take our time.
As much as I hate fasting... cause I do, I have not had much of an opportunity to do so since I have been either pregnant or nursing every Lent for the past... oh, 4 years. Soo... if you have blood sugar issues or are pregnant or nursing, I have found that taking those yummy delicious treats out of your life and/or eating those food that you prefer less is a way you can still fast and sacrifice. And no meat on Fridays of course.
Then there are the tougher things that always need to be worked on. Fasting from speaking poorly of others, complaining, having a weepy attitude, and being on time. Whew! I am tired already. It's going to be a good workout this Lent. You will have to find your specific muscles that need to be strengthened.
As for my kids, I have found the most amazing website called Holy Heroes. They have daily activities to print out, daily videos to watch and even suggestions for what to do during this season. I love it. I ordered books and we have already watched our first 2 days of videos. Later tonight, we have planned to set up our prayer table... and they don't know it yet, but they are already watching less TV! Check it out... www.holyheroes.com
Patrick and I have also always tried to find some Lenten sacrifices in common with one another. Although Christ does call us to different things (I do not enjoy a beer nearly as much as Patrick!), and we have our individual sacrifices, we also find it is much easier to stick to the sacrifices we have chosen together... accountability does amazing things!
I pray for each of you as you grow in holiness during this Lenten season. I reflected on this yesterday and I love it. It is going to be my Lenten motto:
"I have always wanted to become a saint.
Unfortunately, when I have compared myself with the saints, I have
always found that there is the same difference between the saints and me
as there is between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and a
humble grain of sand trodden underfoot by passersby. Instead of being
discouraged, I told myself: God would not make me wish for something
impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a
-St. Therese of Lisieux
Stay tuned for a sacrificial Lenten fast turned to love... Happy Valentine's Day! And blessings as you begin your 40 days.