How is your Lent going? Mine, as usual, is … well – its LENT! So, of course, many of my good intentions have been thrown into disarray with all kinds of emergencies, trips to the ER and all that lovely stuff that comes with parenting which, during Lent, seems to hit harder, and with more fury, than it does in the “ordinary” season. As I
threatened promised you last month; this month’s seven quick takes will be a quick set of suggestions of how we can try to get our Lenten sacrifices and prayer time back on track.
Quick take one: I signed up some time ago for a lovely little service sponsored by the Catholic Company. It’s called Catholic Company Morning Offering and it is delivered to your door daily via email! It’s filled with many nuggets of spiritual inspiration. A quote for the day, usually from a saint, a verse from the bible, the morning offering as well as links to great resources. While there are links to books the Catholic Company is selling, you have the option to follow the link, or not, and their appearance does not detract in any way from the uplifting thoughts enclosed in the email. This Morning Offering is a lovely way to start your day and, if you are finding it hard to start your day with a few moments focused on your relationship with God, this makes it very, very easy to begin a new habit that will continue well after Lent ends. Click here if you are interested in signing up and getting your day started off on the right foot during the rest of Lent and hopefully beyond.
Quick take two: Make use of the Laudette app on your phone or tablet. I honestly have not explored whether it would work on my laptop but one of my adult children, myself and my husband have made great use of it on our phones and tablets. Click here to learn more about it and how to download it, if it’s something you would like to use.
Quick take three: Perhaps you are having the Lent of all Lents! Husband down with the flu, a kid in the pediatric ward and your are struggling just to get regular meals on the table and balance the needs of those still healthy with the needs of the ones who are sick. I actually know quite a few families in just that predicament this Lent. If this is you and you have somehow managed to find a moment to read something besides to do lists – you are most likely asking how the heck does she think I can possibly read something every day? If that’s the case and you are just looking for a weekly spiritual uplift – check out the Holy Heroes weekly reflection on the coming Sunday’s Gospel. Here is this week’s reflection to give you an idea of what it offers. (I swear – I did NOT know she would be talking about starting over with your Lenten resolutions! You would think we were related or something!)
Since I’m talking about the Sunday gospels in this quick take I will take the opportunity to share a link that will allow you to follow the readings according to the calendar followed by the Traditional Latin Mass. Unlike the Novus Order, the Latin Mass calendar only has one cycle of readings, not three.
For other Catholics not of the Roman Rite, this link will lead you to a site with the readings according to the calendar of different Rites.
Quick take four: Another form of prayer that you can engage in for the rest of Lent would be to find a novena to pray over the last weeks. Praymorenovenas.com sends out reminders to those who sign up to pray the current novena that this group is praying.
Obviously there is time for more than one novena if you start now which is what, in my opinion, makes Pray More Novenas so appealing. However, if you just want to find your own novena there are many resources out there, such as EWTN, Catholic Doors, or the Fish Eaters.
Quick take five: Another way to revamp your efforts to be closer to Jesus during Lent is to fill in the empty spaces of the day with Catholic radio instead of the regular radio you listen to. iCatholic radio is one good option for use on your cell phone whether it’s an iPhone or uses the Android platform. Another option is to find some good pod casts to listen to. Again EWTN is a great place to start digging through to find some good things to listen to. You can even find videos to watch as a family there. Audio Sancto is a great place to find podcasts and, in fact, they currently have Lenten missions available to listen to. What a great way to use that time spent in the car racing around doing errands and picking up kids from school or sports events.
Quick take six: As a family perhaps you can replace the regular evening chaos or the TV
zone out of the world hour (or two ) with some family reading time. Maybe chose one of the many books about saints to read as a family. If you are more heavy on the youngins side of the equator chose something from a set of books such as this set offered through Seton.
But if you have reached that stage of life where the youngest at home is an adolescent or older chose something a little heavier such as any of Louis De Wohl books. We have read The Spear, as well as his book on Thomas Aquinas – The Quiet Light along with The Joyful Beggar a book about St. Francis of Assisi.
If, like me, you still have a large variety of ages and just can’t read two different books aloud in the evening ask one of the older children to read to the younger ones while you complete some evening chores and then once the little ones are (hopefully) settled in bed read a chapter or two of the older book with your teens. And, yes, most likely the book will out last Lent but then the idea of our Lenten penances and changes are made in hope that we will continue with them long after Lent is over.
Quick take seven: Last, but not least, we have a handy dandy list put together by our own ink slinger Kerri. Check it out and hopefully find something that will make the rest of Lent a bit more meaningful and not leave you feeling that you have somehow failed in your effort to come closer to Christ during these forty days of fasting, penance and prayer. Click here to check it out. My favorite from this extensive list of ideas is the added activity of making a list of forty people who have touched your lives in some way and then, throughout Lent, taking the time to write a letter or to send a card to them. For those of us with small children I think it would be a lovely idea to have the children draw or color pictures for individuals on the list. Imagine the joy of opening the mail and seeing this labor of love.
It’s not too late to reboot your Lenten efforts (or begin for that matter) as we still have close to four weeks of Lent left! Look at it this way; today is the first day of the rest of Lent!
Thank you again to “This ain’t the Lyseum” for hosting the Quick Take Seven and if you haven’t checked out the blog now hosting this Friday event, hurry on over and introduce yourself. But, before you go – take a moment and share in the comments what is your challenge this Lent and/or any ideas you have about how to grow closer to Christ during the next four weeks.
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Christi Gareis is a homeschooling mother of thirteen, with four children still at home. Her youngest child can boast that she was an aunt before she was born. Christi has been blogging since 2005 and has three blogs. In addition to blogging, Christi has been published on Catholicmom.com as well as in CCL’s magazine Family Foundations. She also wrote the section on How to ‘Prepare Your Child for First Reconciliation’ in the book '101 Stories of Reconciliation' by Sister Patricia Proctor.