Happy Valentine’s Day!
Happy Ash Wednesday!
Today, Catholics everywhere are lining up to receive ashes and begin our Lenten Season. Yep, today is the day we receive the sign of the cross on our heads, in ashes. The ashes symbolize our sins and the cross symbolizes our Savior (our Biggest Blessing).
Of course, I woke up with a painful pimple – in just the right spot where Ashes would go. Hello Father, don’t you want to touch that. HA I’m so sarcastic in my mind.
Anywhoooooo… Here’s some Saint Mother Teresa Love.
And here are my thoughts on Lent:
This past Sunday I taught the lesson of Lenten Preparation to the third graders in my Religious Ed Class. We talked about traditions and things. But one of the most striking statements from the lesson was the Proclamation about the lesson that I wrote on the board (per the book). To me, it’s the overarching theme of Lent:
During Lent, we prepare for Easter so that we may receive the new life of The Risen Christ. When we are Baptized, we receive new life. Lent is like Baptism, because during Lent we are born into new life.
- through sacrifice, we can actually learn to change our ways.
- through prayer and fasting during Lent, we prepare our hearts to receive Jesus.
- through Baptism and Lent, we receive new life.
- by staying close to Jesus, in prayer, sacrifice and fasting, we can imitate Jesus (which is what we are called to do).
There was a time, when I was trying to live up to other’s standards of what Lent or any Catholic Season/Holiday/Holy Day should look like. No more. I had fun doing all the crafty and great things with friends and family, but currently, I am all about the simple and precious. I set myself up to fail and it was no one’s fault but mine.
Pretend like this is an actual conversation:
Me: I’m going to do 475 different devotions, crafts and fun things this year.
Also Me: I can’t get it all done.
My Husband: Don’t get upset, cut something out.
Me: But all these people are doing hundreds of super human things for Lent and I’m only doing 20. HA
Do you recognize any part of that conversation? Do you over-volunteer? Do you give too much or do too much, to the point you drive yourself and family crazy, then go stand in the corner and give yourself a time-out because you may or may not want to punch someone (namely yourself)? — if so PLEASE, I implore you – FIND PEACE! You are enough. You don’t need to buy a fancy Lent journal or stress over which Catholic group you want to follow along in for Lent! You don’t have to do all 75000 fun craft projects your friends are doing or read every book, etc.
Hear me: GOD ONLY WANTS YOU!!!! He doesn’t care about fancy schmancy! He wants your heart and soul. Whatever you do will be GOOD ENOUGH! Sigh.
Ok – end of lesson. HA
My New Motto: K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Silly! If it doesn’t bring peace and isn’t simple – it’s out for this year’s Lent! Here is how I plan to (honestly and simply) live the three pillars of Lent this year.
1) Prayer – Prayer is simply a conversation with God. I talk to Him so much. I’m so thankful. But during Lent, we must purpose to pray clearer and seek the cleaning out of our hearts and souls. My prayer of choice this Lent, purposing to say the Rosary, daily. I am not proud of the suffering and bad attitude I have suffered this past year or so. What I can do, is change ME. Praying the Rosary is medicine to my soul and I miss it. But when I got down, I decided I was forsaken and in exchange, I forsook. Sigh. The below picture, it used to be what I felt. And I am purposing to get back there. My Mother is calling me.
You can choose your own prayer. Call on the Saints. So many great Catholic Prayers. Also – get to Mass more. ❤ Get in front of Jesus y'all.
2) Almsgiving – during Lent, we purpose to help others. I don’t have a lot of extra cash this year, but we will focus on giving to our local food banks. We volunteer a lot at our Parish and are a giving family. When we can do more, we will.
3) Fasting/Abstinence – In the Catholic Church, Fasting on certain days of our Liturgical Calendar involves eating two small meals and one regular meal on any given day of Fasting. There are different rules for the sick, pregnant women and children, of course. There are only two days during Lent where Fasting is required – Ash Wednesday AND Good Friday.
All year, we must either Abstain from (give up/don’t eat) meat on Fridays or we have to perform another penance. However, during Lent, we must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, and all Fridays during Lent. If, for any reason you can not abstain, you must perform another penitential act. In my house, we like fish, so this is not hard for us. We will likely add one other day/week as meatless to further add to our sacrifice.
For me, personally, I am limiting my time on Social Media, and we have given up Starbucks as a family. This last one may sound silly to you. BUT if you knew how much we spent on Starbucks, and how budget conscious we are purposing to be, you’d know that we need to do this, along with a litany of other things.
There are other things we are sacrificing, but those are private.
Additionally, I wanted to make sure you all understand that Sundays ARE in fact included in Lent. Sigh. Here’s a helpful link to explain Sundays in Lent.
Some Helpful Links:
Message From Our Holy Father – Please read this if nothing else. Here is just a small portion. I love him. I truly love our Pope. Mostly because he is our leader AND he explains it so well.
Lent with Lucia – her instructions are simple. And I like simple these days.
Whatever you are doing this Lent, let it be something that draw you closer to Our Lord, Our Faith and keeps you on your path toward Heaven! I’m so happy to have met you and crossed paths with you on our walk. ❤
God bless you and keep you this Lenten Season dear readers.
Hugs & blessings,