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2015 Lenten Instagram Photo-a-Day Journey

LENT IS ALMOST HERE! Can you believe it! Are you scrambling to figure out what you’re going to give up and take on for your spiritual exercises and disciplines? Did you just put your Christmas tree away? {Candlemas fans, I am looking at you!}.

If you’re old hat and have done this before, feel free to scroll down to grab the latest pic of the themes for Lent {and our usual Easter bonus!}. If you’re new, slow down, buddy. We have a few important details you’ll want to scan first. Let’s jump in!

  • I’m on Instagram! Great! Share your photos there and be sure to tag us @CatholicSistas and use the hashtag #CSLentIPJ {Catholic Sistas Lent Instagram Photo-a-Day Journey}
  • I’m not on Instagram, but I participate in other social media platforms! No worries! Anytime you share a picture, please tag us {according to our tags on each social media platform} and use the hashtag #CSLentIPJ.
  • TAG US! @CatholicSistas on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook,  @Catholic_Sistas on Twitter and +CatholicSistas on Google+.
  • We want your help! Add your pictures to Catholic Sistas’ Instagram.Lent board on Pinterest. We want to see what you are sharing on Instagram, so leave a comment on this pin if you are on Pinterest with your account name or e-mail with the e-mail account attached to your Pinterest account and we’ll add you to the group board.
  • Please share this post and the graphic on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Click here to download.
  • Feel free to use our button on your blog {the second graphic below} or as a profile pic on Facebook or promoting on Instagram. Download it here.
  • Pin only your photos, please.
  • That’s it! We look forward to seeing you “around town” and what pictures you snap throughout Lent. Don’t forget our bonus Easter theme, too!

*By joining this board, it will also appear on your account and help your followers see what’s going on during Lent with the photo challenge. It’s a great way to witness!


Click here for the latest article on Lenten ideas.


CLentIPJ participation button

Catechism Doctrine Faith Formation Ink Slingers Lent Liturgical Year Martina Offering your suffering Ordinary Time Prayer

#FishFriday – It’s Not Just for Lent

If you’ve heard the buzz lately, you know that the bishops plan to readdress and reemphasize that the faithful abstain from meat on Fridays, but do you know why? I know that, for many of us, this can come across as “lotsa rules” or “how can the Church be so determined to focus on this {perceived minutia} when we have so many bigger fish to fry?” – pun intended. It’s simple when you understand the core of Christ’s love for us. It’s about the spirit of the law vs. the letter of the law. Let me give you an example of both.

Letter of the law:

Days of Penance*

  • Can.  1249 The divine law binds all the Christian faithful to do penance each in his or her own way. In order for all to be united among themselves by some common observance of penance, however, penitential days are prescribed on which the Christian faithful devote themselves in a special way to prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves by fulfilling their own obligations more faithfully and especially by observing fast and abstinence, according to the norm of the following canons.
  • Can.  1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
  • Can.  1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
  • Can.  1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.
  • Can.  1253 The conference of bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast.

*Pulled from the Vatican website

Spirit of the law:

  • Jesus has a particularly scandalous love for each one of us.
  • Jesus died on the Cross for you – yes, YOU!
  • Each Friday is an opportunity to unite our small sufferings to His redemptive suffering on the Cross.
  • Out of our love for Him, we offer something small {such as meat if that is a particular suffering for you} to show Christ that we recognize and appreciate His gift of salvation for us.
  • We are not limited to giving up meat, but can also offer up other acts of penitential suffering as well – this varies from person to person, depending on our particular struggles and sufferings.

When we break it down into two categories like this, we can see that the letter of the law is borne of the spirit of the law. Without the spirit of the law, it’s all just words. If your heart isn’t convicted to a love for Christ, all you will see giving up your precious meat on Fridays is just a mere inconvenience. It’s so much more than that. SO. MUCH. MORE THAN THAT. The next time you start to feel that way about the laws of the Church, look at the Cross and lay those feelings at His feet. Pray for Jesus to soften your heart to understand the foundation of the rules. They are all rooted in a love for Him. Promise.

Emily Faith Formation Ink Slingers Prayer

Bear with me… it’s time to get habitual.

I’m really bad about habits.

I TRY, I really do!  I’m extremely motivated and have very pure, good, and holy intentions of maintaining a routine.  But, none the less I often fail.

When I first started writing here I was inspired to start a “word of the day” theme.  Well, like most New Year’s Resolutions, that habit really didn’t sink in.  So… I’m declaring a “DO OVER”!  Right here and now.  (at least… for now… we’ll see how long this lasts!)

{{{drum roll}}}
Today’s “word of the day” is BEARS.
{{cymbal crash, clank, ca-ch-ch-ch-chink}}

Yeah… there were bears.  In my garage.
If you recall from my previous BAT story, I don’t get along well with wildlife in my house.

So, I guess it’s not widely known that there are bears in Florida.  We actually have our own species here… the Florida Black Bear.  We live very close to a local state park and our area is notorious for having these wild neighbors wandering through the neighborhoods and digging through trash cans for food.

Our neighborhood, in particular, has had a lot of recent bear activity – so much that our neighborhood Facebook page is filled with daily sightings.  My husband, being more alert to these types of things, had been trying to remind me to keep the garage door closed – out of concern for his family.

Well, this is where we get back to the whole topic of HABITS.  I had been in the habit of mindlessly opening the garage every time I run the dryer (our dryer vents into the garage and the hot, muggy, humid air isn’t ideal to keep trapped inside the garage).  It was 7:30 at night, and my husband was away working with his new business partner.   Suddenly he gets a phone call on his cell phone from our neighbor, who happened to be pulling into her driveway.

“THERE ARE BEARS IN YOUR GARAGE!  Two of them!  And they’ve opened your refrigerator!  And they’re drinking MILK!”

My poor husband was so confused, because he knows he *closed* the garage before leaving, and his darling wife would *never* open it after the millions of reminders he had hoped were sinking in.

Well, long story short – our neighborhood security guard was able to scare them away and back into the woods.  We only lost a few items – a gallon of milk, a gallon of tea, and a half-dozen sodas.  There were huge bear paw prints on our garage refrigerator… thank goodness they hadn’t opened the freezer where we have a decent stock of meat and fish!  All I know is that I will NEVER mindlessly open the garage door again, I don’t care how hot it may get in there from the dryer vent.

Forming new habits takes DISCIPLINE – or a sudden shock to your system.  Lent is good – it can serve as the yearly “shock” that we need to form new spiritual habits.  But, Lent doesn’t last all year.  So, how DO we form new habits in our lives?

The Catholic Encyclopedia on provides some nice insights:

The main factors in the growth of habit are:

  • The number of repetitions, as every repetition strengthens the disposition left by previous exercise;
  • their frequency: too long an interval of time allows the disposition to weaken, whereas too short an interval fails to give sufficient rest, and results in organic and mental fatigue;
  • their uniformity: at least change must be slow and gradual, new elements being added little by little;
  • the interest taken in the actions, the desire to succeed, and the attention given;
  • the resulting pleasure or feeling of success which becomes associated with the idea of the action.
Honestly, it sounds like a really rough workout routine… my muscles are already starting to ache.  Unfortunately we don’t always have trainers hovering over us screaming… COME ON, ONE MORE SET!  LET’S GO GO GO!!!!!  We have to find ways to quietly and privately form prayerful habits during our daily routines.

As a family, we pray before meals and before bed.  We give blessings to our children and ask God to be with them as the leave for school in the mornings.  During my day I try to listen to the daily readings podcast, and maybe squeeze in a rosary or a divine mercy chaplet on my drive home from work.

Prayer seems to come naturally when we are going through turmoil or pain, but what about those moments when prayer doesn’t come easily?  Having these habitual prayers in place helps when as we go through those times in our lives when our prayer lives seem to be in a drought.  It becomes so ingrained in what we do on a daily basis, so that, even during those “dark nights” when we can’t seem to find the right words to say, we can at least turn to our routines for a sense of comfort.

How do you incorporate prayer into your daily routines?

And, just so you know, I have officially broken my bad habit of leaving the garage open.  The bears can keep on walking… no food for you here!… And my husband can breathe a sigh of relief that I’ve FINALLY gotten the message.