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Celeste Faith Formation Fasting Ink Slingers Lent Liturgical Year Prayer Recipes

Feasting During Lent

 

FeastingDuringLent - meatless meals, Lent, feast, www.catholicsistas.com

When you enter into Lent on Ash Wednesday, tradition sees us going into the church, and exiting in a solemn way with having done away with the “Alleluia” and a physical manifestation of the inward penances that we will practice with a visible mark of ashes on our forehead. So why would I include “Feasting” in an article about Lent? Because we are called to live our faith joyfully, as Pope Francis keeps pointing out. We are called to be a people of joy even in times of penance and sacrifice. As scripture also points out, we should not douse our heads in ashes and cry about the sacrifices that we practice so as to make a public display, but rather live as we normally should, (joyfully) so as to emulate to the world the joy that we find in being beloved of Our Lord.

Now, by feasting I don’t mean to load our tables with all things glorious and gooey, or to lay a table full of magnificently stuffed birds and sugar-laden desserts. On the contrary, we can feed our bodies with simple and nutritious foods, and make them beautiful and enjoyable while still observing our season of fasting and abstinence. If you weren’t aware, there are only two days during the season of Lent when we are called to a more “extreme” form of fasting: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Well, I can do that, you might say. And so you should. On those days we can still feast, and by “feast” I mean to eat and feed our bodies, minds and souls with those things we need a joyful spirit and with a spirit of thanksgiving to our Lord for that ultimate sacrifice which He made for you and I.

If you are on a special diet for some particular reason, health or otherwise, giving up or changing your diet can be extremely difficult or very limiting. You must be healthy, after all. It shouldn’t become an obsession for you that must be at the forefront of your existence for this season. Ask yourself, “Is this sacrifice going to bring me closer in my relationship with Jesus?” If not, and if it is more about losing a pound or two during this time of penance, perhaps a different sacrifice is more appropriate for you. It’s most especially important to keep this in mind if you find yourself unable to focus on those things that are important, like taking care of your family or functioning at work. If you pay close attention our Lord usually provides much opportunity for sacrifice during Lent. So perhaps instead of giving up chocolate, you may find yourself making smaller but more meaningful choices (sacrifices) like choosing a more healthy option than what you would naturally go for at first glance. Or perhaps your fasting and abstinence will not be about food at all. (There are exceptions for people with health issues! Speak with your priest about it if you have questions or are uncertain.) Perhaps your thing will be about serving your spouse or children their meal more joyfully or patiently. Or instead of just slapping the Mac ‘n Cheese in a bowl and shoving it in front of the kids on the hastily cleared off table, set a nice table and put dinner in pretty bowls and talk about manners. That can be much more of a sacrifice than easily saying no to a piece of chocolate.

Now that we’ve covered some logistical stuff, please enjoy this recipe and the accompanying short video!

A blessed Lent to you, friends.

+ MORE ON MEATLESS MEALS +

[yumprint-recipe id=’7′]

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Amy M. Faith Formation Ink Slingers Motherhood Vocations

Spiritual Do-Over

He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

What a day!  It started off “normal” – the usual rush of seven people eating breakfast and four making lunch.  Then it all exploded.  Right before it was time to leave for school, of course.  One daughter had put together the snacks and had picked the “wrong” Goldfish.  Serious meltdown.  I am not proud to say I did not handle it well.  The end result?  My son trying to read the daily readings over the crying and carrying on (the girls and me – ugh).  We got everyone calmed down and off to school, late.

I got home in an awful funk.  God has blessed us with five wonderful children on earth.  I believe one of my primary jobs as a parent is to lead them to Him, to help guide them to know and grow in God’s love, and I believe that the main way to do that is by my actions – and my reactions.  My reactions were screaming anything but God’s love this morning.  I felt like such a failure, like there was no way God had actually intended ME to raise these children.  I’m so far from perfect.  I mess up too much.  Through my ranting (at myself), I started to realize God isn’t feeding me these thoughts.  He loves me too much to ever stop loving me.  Then the Bible verse came to mind, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

He had my attention.  So I began to pray for a “do-over.”  Obviously, I couldn’t go get my children from school, but I could pray for them, that God would be close to them throughout their days.  I could pray that my husband’s day at work would be productive and positive.  I could focus on my devotions and prayer life as my day continued.  As I did, I began to feel a peace invade my soul, the joy of the Lord and knowing Him come back.

I’d like to say this peace continued throughout the day.  On and off, focusing on the small parts, it has.  Of course, we’ve had the after-school homework, chores, and activity craziness.  But as I started to feel the frustration of too much to do bubbling to the surface, I said a quick prayer, stopped typing, packed up the whole bunch and headed to the park to play for a while (hey, how many times can you do THAT in the Midwest in the winter???).  It worked!  As I was bouncing on the springy thing with my four girls, I realized that there was a do-over for the day.  It started by admitting that I am weak in the Lord and need His grace in each and every moment of my day.  It continued by asking for God’s forgiveness for my reactions this morning and asking for my children’s forgiveness.  Now, this evening as we sit down for dinner, we will ask the Lord again for His grace and guidance as we discuss as a family how to make mornings go more smoothly.  I will truly take the verse the Lord put into my heart and live it – all of it.  I am not able to bring these children to Him on my own.  He is here with us each and every step of the way.  All we need to do is recognize His presence in these moments – even the crazy ones!  Praise the Lord!

Thank You, Lord, for being with us each and every moment of each and every day.  Please help us to realize that when You feel far away, it is not You who has moved but us. Thank You for giving us unlimited spiritual do-overs as long as we continue to admit our failings and ask again for Your forgiveness and grace.   Help us to pull closer to You so that Your power may be made perfect in our weakness.  I ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

 

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Amy M. Faith Formation Ink Slingers Liturgical Year Motherhood Ordinary Time Vocations

Reflections on a “Good” Day

He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Mark 6:31

Our day started like many others: late night at work followed by a hectic morning that started too early.  Putting the then baby into the double stroller to try to appease her “funk,” we headed out for a “walk adventure.”  The then-almost-5-year old and then almost-3-year old were happy for the change of scenery (although I suspect anything would be better than listening to the 15-month old cry for hours on end).  The highlight of our walk was watching a bobcat filling a hole and a dump truck dumping a load of gravel.  After stopping at the park, we headed home to do some lawn work.

We work and save so we can own our own little plot of land and we try to make sure the grass is nicely green.  Then we pull out the grass that grows in places where we don’t want it.  Neighbors might comment if the grass gets too long.   The dreaded, “What will they think?”  if we don’t keep up with pulling the weeds and cutting the grass and trimming the bushes – the list is endless.

As I was cleaning out the “weeds,” I discovered some pink snap dragons growing around the light post.  They were annuals I had planted the previous summer!  The first thought I had was, “Good thing I hadn’t kept up with pulling weeds! “  What a pretty surprise!  I’ll remember that the next time I’m embarrassed by the weeds in the yard and realize spending time in prayer and devotion with our Lord and just BEING with the children and my husband is time MUCH better spent.

When the disciples came to Jesus in Mark chapter 6 and told Him all the things they had been doing, He didn’t tell them to keep up the hard work with no rest.  On the contrary, He told them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31)  As a wife, mother, Moms’ group leader, and in general, woman of many hats (as, I imagine, many of us are), even THINKING about coming away and resting seems contradictory to being productive and following God’s will.  However, just the opposite is true.  When I force myself to focus on the Father first, pray over my to-do lists, and prayerfully follow Him all the day long, I find those are the most “productive” (and sometimes the most relaxed as well – how’s that for contradictory?!?) days of all.

Here’s to a new year of time to “Come away by yourselves and rest a while” in the Lord!

Thank you, Lord, for this New Year and all the new possibilities and opportunities to grow closer to You.  Please show us Your will for each and every one of us today.  We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.