Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ready. Set. LENT!

{Day 6 of the 7 Posts in 7 Days Challenge hosted by Conversion Diary}



I know, we've still got a few days to go before we are faced with the "to ash or not to ash" dilemma - you know, the "do I keep this on my forehead so people can see a visible sign of my faith or do I wipe it off so I don't wear my fasting on my forehead" debate.

Here at the Casa, the week always gets away from me, so I have decided to take Lent by the mantle and get a head start. Kendra already had a fantastic post over on her blog about different ways we can pray, fast and give this season. I encourage you to check it out if you are looking for suggestions on creative things you can do wherever you are on your faith journey.



The mantle banner is a collection of scripture verses relating to prayer, fasting and giving that we can use for nightly reflection and family prayer. I ended up not being able to make all of the verses fit across the mantle using one banner - it would have reached around the room - so I've split them into two banners. If you would like a copy of the scriptures I used, leave me a note and I am happy to email them to you!

The Hubs and I don't discuss what we give up ahead of time, not because we don't think it is important, but like I said, time kind of slips away from us. I think it is important for us each to have things that are specific to our faith expressions and journey, but also something we can do together as a family to pray, fast and give. Here are my main goals this lent for fasting, praying and giving. There are smaller practices I take on through the season to train my heart to conform to Christ's and attune my ears to the Spirit, but these are the biggies.

To decide on my FAST, I tend to spend a good amount of time in prayer about where I have attachments in my life that keep me from God. This year it is abundantly clear that the iPhone apps have taken over my life, and games most specifically. I don't even think I could keep track of how many hours I have wasted on Candy Crush. I feel like I have to mention that I put up the good fight for a long time, but finally fell to the sweet crushing candies. I shall be fasting from all games on the old phone, and phone apps between dinner and bedtime.

To decide on my PRAYER, I've been taking a look at different devotionals and practices. I had begun the year with a desire to pray more novenas, and like most resolutions, that faded as time went by. I am praying about different saints to engage in novena prayers, ones that are specific warriors in different areas of my life and the lives of those needing some help fighting a good spiritual fight. So far Mary, Undoer of Knots, St. Monica, St. Joseph, and St. Dymphna have come up. Four novenas take me most of the way through Lent - hooray! With the time I'll have free from not crushing candies, I am also hoping to make my way through a few spiritual books. I've started St. Augustine's Confessions a dozen times and never finished, so that is my hope for these 40 days. I have a feeling Jen's book will make its way in there, though I am also suspecting that I will fly through that one leaving me plenty of days for Augustine.

To arrive at my GIVING, all I need to do is look around. Piles upon piles of clothes, books and shoes that I no longer can wear or don't read anymore. I recently read about a 40 bags in 40 days initiative and am going to do my best to clean out my clutter and re-evaluate what I truly like and need versus what I hold on to thinking "one day." The family doesn't know they are joining me in this endeavor yet...shhh. I'm sure we have a few bags of toys or old baby items that someone else could be putting to good use. I'm hoping that each week I can go through a couple different areas of the house and then do a drop off on the weekends.

Stay tuned to see how we fare!



How do you approach prayer, fasting and giving during Lent? Any great practices you are taking on that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them!







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2 comments:

  1. I need to give away clothes, too - was thinking of being consistent in my purging during Lent and actually finishing the going through of it all. My husband and I do it similarly - we share the same Fasts (well, our household does), and then additional ones we don't share until after we've decided. A blessed Lent to you and yours!

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  2. Being still a newish Catholic I haven't absorbed fully the concept of the 3 aspects to consider in Lent. The things that most people "give up" (fast from) are not a part of my life anyway, so no obvious fasting opportunities present themselves. The past 2 years my spiritual director has directed me toward the "prayer" part - learning more about prayer and taking on new prayers (I love this; it's so enriching). Giving - hmmm. We've always been generous givers and would never pass up an opportunity, but I don't see where I can augment what's already in my life. We plan to add Father Barron's daily Lent reflections to the daily missal reading that we already do, and I may also go through the book "In Him Alone is Our Hope", which is the Ignatian exercises as presented by Pope Francis to fellow bishops at a retreat.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts! Rest assured I do read each and every word, but please forgive me if I don't get back to you right away. The toddler tugging on my leg and the one year old pulling my hair may have seized control of my typing abilities. Blessings on your day!