Time seems to be moving faster and faster. Lent begins in only a few short days. Are you ready? I am definitely not ready. Although I am determined to make this Lent a holy spirit-filled experience for my family and I, I am overwhelmed with the options for celebrating this Holy season.
Where should I begin? Do you have any traditions you grew up with that are meaningful to you? I thought I would take an example from the Church and cover our most prominent Saint statues with purple cloth for Holy Week, but I am worried I will forget by then. I was also thinking it might be nice to go for a walk each morning, before starting school, to pray the Divine Mercy together; except on Fridays when we would pray the Stations of the Cross. What about giving something up? Any suggestions?
Does anyone have any recommendations for stuff to read to/with the children? Every year, after Christmas, as we await the Feast of the Holy Innocents, I love to reread “The Shepherd’s Prayer”. I never tire of it; however I do not have a similar book for Lent or Holy Week. Any Suggestions?
I desperately want to recapture a moment from Adoration years ago. I thought I had posted about it before, but I can’t find it in the archives; so, if you already know the story, sorry.
Several years ago, well probably closer to 8 years ago, my friend and I met for Adoration on Holy Thursday at 11pm. Adoration was in the Chapel that had been filled with many living trees and plants (wealthier S. Florida Parish), anyway the feeling of being in the garden with Christ was very real. I was however, unprepared for the last 5 minutes of our hour of Adoration. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the Deacon enter the back of the Chapel, although I had already said all my prayers and read for a while from Sacred Scripture, I suddenly felt a strange sense of panic overtake me. I knew the Deacon was there to take our Lord present in the Eucharist. I knew the next day was Good Friday and that the Tabernacle would stand open and empty. I remember feeling an urgency almost a fear, that “they” were going to take Him away. It was as if I were in THE garden and the Deacon was the guards coming to take Christ into custody. I wanted another minute, I wanted time to stop, I didn’t want this moment in time to pass. I was there, Jesus was there, I wanted Him to stay with me. I felt His presence in a way I had never before nor have I ever felt again.
I want to explain that this is not a typical experience for me. The only thing that comes close is the day I received the Lord in an unworthy manner and He blessed me (even in my ignorance and sin) with a feeling of “fullness”. I had been desperately trying to fill an emptiness I had not even known was there by going to an exciting, entertaining, evangelical Christian community (Calvary Chapel Ft Lauderdale). It was at this other “church” that I identified my starving as a need for Christ; but it was through the reception of the Holy Eucharist at Mass that the emptiness was finally filled.
I pray that my children do not find themselves wondering like I did, looking for what they already have. I want them to know the faith, feel the faith, and live the faith. In Scripture we read that there was one action, one gift that Jesus looked forward to, that He desired; giving us His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity as food, real food for us to consume. He does not just desire our attention, our prayers, He desires Communion. I do not want my children to walk away from the Lord present mistaking good entertainment for true worship of God.
This Lent is particularly meaningful because in May, Aubrey, our oldest child, will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. Praise God she has had the opportunity to truly learn and appreciate her faith. Unlike my Confirmation, that was more about making Grammy think I was great (I asked her to be my sponsor), I remember almost nothing, not even who I chose for my Saint’s Name. :-( Aubrey spent many weeks reading about the lives of various Saints and finally, prayerfully chose St. Gianna Molla. She went so far as to ask the Lord to confirm her choice. In a conversation with her Sponsor, Aunt Kirsten, she received that confirmation and officially told her Confirmation teacher.
I look forward to any ideas you may have to help me inspire in my children a love and devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ. That they too may have the opportunity to feel their faith as well as know it. I know that faith and knowledge are infinitely more important than feelings, especially since feelings can be so misleading, but it would be nice.
May the Lord bless each of you with abundant Grace this Lenten Season and may you find your faith profoundly enriched by this Easter. May you long to be in the presence of the Lord and find comfort in receiving Him through His Holy Sacrament of the Altar, the Eucharist.