"Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment."
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. I don't feel prepared. Well, I do, but I don't feel as prepared as I did for Advent. I suppose that is the beauty of Lent. It doesn't take much to put a lot into it. Most of it comes from within. Here's our Lenten Calendar:
This year I opted to cut out squares and number according to actual days of penance to simplify the understanding of the actual 40 days of fasting and prayer. This took about 15 minutes and could be done with a cereal box, construction paper, white glue and a sharpie. That simple. I have no idea where I got it into my mind last year that it would easier to draw all of the squares. SIGH. Much easier this way. The other calendar can be found in my blog on Lenten preparations last year, along with pics of my decor. I'll spare you a repeat entry so these are just pics of the new additions.
Here's the felt board display:
And here's a brief summary of our Lenten homeschool plans:
1) Lenten Adventures through Holy Heroes (www.holyheroes.com)
2) Lenten prayer before bed and sticker on the calendar
3) Pray and talk about one Station of the Cross each Friday (for the kids) and Stations of the Cross matching and numbering on Fridays. (We have little cards that I've glued to cardboard. 2 sets for matching and 1 set to put them in number order)
4) No special baking or cookies/desserts for the kids during Lent, excepting Sundays, or feast days.
5) We will spend less at the grocery store and put aside money for the homeschool giving jar. Any other money we save eating less will be put into the children's offering envelopes for mass. Hopefully this will be a great learning opportunity for them in what it means to give to others in need as this is the first year we've tried this with the kids.
6)A prayer tree. I don't have this made yet, but I'm hoping to use the time during Lent to assemble and make a prayer tree with symbols of Lent and different intentions on each prayer ornament. Once I get this together I'll try and post an entry about it.
7) Hide the Alleluia card again and hunt for it first thing Easter morning.
8) Lent box of toys to put away til Easter (saw this on another blog).
I will avoid mentioning any thing else that I'm doing personally as I don't really like the whole "what did you give up for Lent" dialogue people always throw at Catholics. The whole point is to do it for Jesus. Usually that should mean keeping it private and making it a true sacrifice in that no one knows but you, the saints, angels and God himself. BUT, I try and think of one thing I can say...something simple to encourage conversations on Lent and the gift it is to our family. Because, it truly is a gift to us and I always have felt that each Lent my life is changed, moved more toward Christ in one way or another.
Wishing you the holiest and most joyous of Lenten Seasons. May we all be made into His image and take up our crosses...to die to self in order to live in Christ.
In His Wounds,