Faith Formation Ink Slingers Lent Liturgical Year Offering your suffering Prayer Sarah

Offer It Up! The Sanctification of Suffering

Offer It Up

As the cold winter has given way into spring, the Liturgical Calendar tells us that it is Lent. This once was a time when kids around the globe firmly resolved to give up chocolate for the next forty days, moms put down the snacks, and dads might even leave the beer in the fridge, untouched. We sacrifice in Lent, because Christ sacrificed for us.

But have you noticed the changing trend these days? We are a people who loathe suffering. We will do anything for comfort. We’ve seemingly abandoned the idea of “giving up” and embraced the “do-gooder” attitude. Instead of giving up chocolate, we resolve to use kind words. Instead of skipping the sugar in our morning cuppa, we affirm our neighbor. Forget all this suffering nonsense! I’ll just do something “nice.”

Why are we so afraid of suffering? We are afraid to face our humanity, afraid to admit just how small we are, afraid to admit that God’s plan is so much bigger than our own?

Kindness and affirmations are lovely – they truly are – but they miss the point of Lent.

When I was growing up, my mom loved to remind us to “Offer it up!” When we offer up our pain, we sanctify it. Pain and suffering came into the world through the Fall of Adam and Eve. It wasn’t God’s original design, but the logical result of the Fall. We now need to use this pain to draw closer to Him and join in the salvation He is offering us.

When we unite our suffering to Christ, even the small inconveniences become sanctifying. Lent is when we focus on small suffering and offer it to Christ. Our small acts of joyful suffering fortify our souls. They strengthen us, so that when the suffering is big, we are strong enough to turn from sin and embrace virtue. Suffering in the small things makes us strong for the large things. Suffering, offered to and united with Christ, gives grace to our souls and sanctifies us.

We are living in a spiritual battlefield and we need to strengthen our spiritual muscles and put on our spiritual armor. Prayer and real sacrifice are our means of spiritual strength. Each small sacrifice is like a trip to the gym for our souls! We are willing to sweat it out in the gym to make our bodies look and feel great. Why not do the same for our soul?

Christ came to earth to redeem us. He came to undo the effects of Adam and Eve’s Fall. One of the main effects of the Fall is suffering. While Christ could have chosen any means by which to redeem humanity, He chose to suffer! He chose to die a bloody, painful death on the Cross.

Lent has been our time to join Him on the road to Calvary. He didn’t walk that road, handing out joyful affirmations and kind words. He didn’t stop to tell the weeping woman of Jerusalem, “Cheer up! You’re beautiful!” He suffered real pain, offered it for our souls, and died on the Cross so that we could be redeemed.

This Lent, it’s not too late to choose to offer some small, painful sacrifice to Christ. Unite it to His Passion and sanctify your little suffering, particularly as we head into Holy Week. Certainly, be kind, too, but remember that Lent is a time to reflect on Christ’s redemptive suffering and in some small way, to join Him on the road to Calvary.


Ink Slingers Lent Liturgical Year Martina Resources Spiritual Growth Your Handy-Dandy List

The 2019 Handy Dandy List of Lenten Resources

The 2019 Handy Dandy List to Lenten Resources

Can you believe Lent is almost here? What better way to enter into this penitential season than to comb through our newest list of Lenten resources – along with taking a peek at our previous lists dating back to 2013? I don’t know if you’ll find a more thorough set of lists to prepare you to walk with Christ this Lent. At the end of the post you’ll find links to our previous years’ posts. So, let’s get to it, shall we? 



A 2019 complete Liturgical Catholic planner

PDF downloadable and printable from your home – print only what you need

2019 Lenten Tracker // FREE

Lenten Tracker 2019


So simple – download, print, and use to track your Lenten sacrifices with this FREE printable

courtesy of Catholic Sistas foundress Martina Kreitzer


Father Mike

Where is Lent in the Bible? 

Why Fast on Ash Wednesday?


Praying through Holy Week



this is a subscription site – ask your parish for their code to access it for free

Stations of the Cross


What’s the Deal with Ashes on Ash Wednesday?

My Beloved Son – Meditations for Lent

by Bishop Barron

The Passion of Christ: In Light of the Holy Shroud of Turin

by Fr. Francis Peffley

(fun fact – Father Peffley baptized our oldest son and many Kreitzer grandchildren) 🙂 

The Fourth Cup

by Dr. Scott Hahn



from Catholic Blogger

12 Apostles 

by Sara J Creations

Lent in Our Catholic Home 

by Elizabeth Clare

An Illustrated Lent

 by Illustrated Children’s Ministry

Saints for Boys & Girls

by Tan Books

57 Lenten Crafts

by Felt Magnet Crafts

Lenten Activities for Children

by Laci of Catholic Icing

Stations of the Cross for Children

by Julianne M. Will


// PRAYER //

A Year with the Eucharist: Daily Meditations on the Blessed Sacrament

by Paul Jerome Keller, OP

Magnificat Lenten Companion

by Ignatius Press

Parenting with the Beatitudes: Eight Holy Habits for Daily Living

by Jeannie and Ben Ewing

Mass and Adoration Companion

by Vinny Flynn and Erin Flynn

A Year with Mary: Daily Meditations on the Mother of God

by Paul Thigpen, Ph.D.

Manual for Eucharistic Adoration

by Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, St. Joseph

Cultivating Virtue: Self Mastery with the Saints

by Tan Books

Lent and Holy Week with Mary

by Dr. Mary Amore


The 2019 Handy Dandy List of Lenten Resources1

Lenten Journal – The Paschal Mystery of Christ

by the Dominican Sisters of Mary

The 2019 Handy Dandy List of Lenten Resources1

To Hear His Voice: A Mass Journal for Children

by  Ginny Kochis

The 2019 Handy Dandy Guide to Lenten Resources

Stay Connected: A Gift of Invitation

by Allison Gingras


Manual for Spiritual Warfare

by Paul Thigpen, Ph.D.

Begone Satan: A Soul-Stirring Account of Diabolical Possession in Iowa

by Reverend Father Carl Vogl

An Exorcist Tells His Story

by Father Gabriele Amorth

An Exorcist Explains the Demonic

by Father Gabriele Amorth

An Exorcist Explains How to Heal the Possessed

by Father Paolo Carlin

Saints who Battled Satan

by Paul Thigpen, Ph.D.

Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Contemporary Americans

by Malachi Martin

The Spiritual Combat: and a Treatise on Peace of Soul

by Lorenzo Scupoli

Deliverance Prayers: For Use by the Laity

by Father Chad A. Ripperger, Ph.D.

// STUDY //

Forgiven: The Transforming Power of Confession


Lectio: Unveiling Scripture and Tradition


Eucharistic Miracles: And Eucharistic Phenomenon in the Lives of the Saints

by Joan Carroll Cruz

The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living

by Timothy Gallagher

Pray More Retreat

by John-Paul and Annie of Pray More Novenas


// FUNNY //

14 Memes about Lent Catholics Understand


Beloved: Finding Happiness in Marriage

Marriage 911

by Greg and Julie Alexander




Dovetail Ink

by Monica Welch

Luminous Moments by A

by Austyn

BC Inspirations

by Becky Cook


Yes, your church needs holy water during Lent – ESPECIALLY during Lent

More on Sacramentals

Your Guide to a Catholic Lent: Everything you need for a more spiritual Lent

from Simply Catholic


No meat can be eaten on Ash Wednesday and all of the Fridays during Lent. This applies Catholics 14 and older. 


Only one full regular sized meal is permitted on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday for Catholics between 18 and 59. Two smaller meals are permitted, but the small meals should not equal a second full meal. Drinking coffee, tea, and water between meals is allowed. Snacks between meals are not allowed. Exemptions are made, of course, for nursing mothers, the ill, and the elderly for whom fasting would severely compromise their health.


You should strive to go to confession once a month (more frequently also encouraged), but especially during Lent.

Looking for an in-depth Examination of Conscience?

Click here to download and print up a copy to use.

You can also check out the Handy Little Guide to Confession

by Ink Slinger and Catholic author Michelle Schroeder


The original list from 2013, with updates in 2014

The {Second} Handy Dandy List of 2015

The updated 2016 list of Lenten resources

2018 Handy Dandy List of Lenten Sacrifices

Lenten Archives

Season.Lent board on Pinterest

Hopefully, this list inspires you to try something new with your family or faith group, or possibly resurrect an old practice. And I hope everyone has a spiritually fulfilling Lent.

Finally, don’t forget our Annual 2019 Lenten Photo Challenge!

Ink Slingers Lent Motherhood Sarah

Uniting to Christ’s Life-Giving Suffering

Pregnancy can be rough. A mother sacrifices her own body – taking on sickness, pain, and physical marking that may never go away – to bring a new child into this world. Or maybe even, straight into the next world. Even the mother who never holds her child willingly sacrifices her body for that new, sweet soul.

Being in the third trimester of pregnancy, while walking the path of Lent, gives you a unique and clear viewpoint. The forty days of Lent contrast pretty well with those forty weeks gestating a new little life. Both are long, rocky days of self-sacrifice, all in the name of sanctification and everlasting life.

No matter how often we may complain (ahem, if you’re like me, it may be a lot), there is an underlying joy with which we pick up this particular cross. Bringing forth this new life is worth every moment of nausea, every long night of heartburn and insomnia, every sore and aching back. New life – the much longed for, the shocking surprise, or the quickly fleeting – every single one is worth each moment of sacrifice.

The pains of pregnancy and labor are a result of the fall. God’s perfect original plan did not include all of this suffering. In the same way, His original plan did not include sending His Son to suffer and die. Temptation and human weakness altered His perfect plan, but He reached down with the gift of meritorious suffering to give us a second chance. When we suffer and choose to unite ourselves to Christ’s suffering, we bring merit and worth to the pain.

And in Lent, in a very acute way, the pregnant mother can unite herself to the passion and suffering of Christ. He willingly, perhaps even with quiet joy, suffered that we might live. He endured physical pain and scars, He carried His cross along that long and rocky road. He fell and picked Himself back up. He did all this not for Himself, but for us. For you.

Christ’s Passion culminated in an excruciatingly painful, humiliating death. After being whipped and mocked, and hauling that heavy cross up the hill, they hung him there in the hot sun in front of jeering crowds. Just like the long road of pregnancy is hard and exhausting, the mother is then asked to endure labor as the grand climax of creating new life.

How many of us have given birth and quietly thought “this isn’t my most graceful moment!” It hurts. We throw all pride to the wind. We grip the moment, cry out to be relieved of the pain, and suffer through. And every mother would stand up and say that she’d do it all again. Every moment, every tear shed, every drop of blood spilled. Each and every child is worth the sacrifice his mother endures to co-create with spouse and God a new and unique soul.

I’m sure that if we could ask Jesus, He’d say the same thing. He willingly suffered for our souls and our chance to attain the ultimate goal of Heaven. He shed tears and spilled blood for your soul and He’d do it again if that were required.

No one likes pain and suffering. No sane person sets out in search of it. But as Christians, we have been given a gift of understanding the merits of suffering. Christ’s suffering attained the chance of eternal life for each us, just as a mother’s suffering brings forth a new life. Our individual suffering – be it great or seemingly small – is meritorious in its own way. Christ calls us all to suffer alongside Him and to one day rejoice alongside Him in Heaven.


Lent Liturgical Year Spiritual Growth Victoria K

The Year I Did NOTHING For Lent

How I gave up nothing, took on nothing…and left everything to the Lord.

I Did Nothing for Lent


My Plan for an All-Star Lent

It was Lent 2014. I was a college junior, diving into my faith after my “reversion” (I’m a cradle Catholic, but my faith was rekindled that previous summer). Before my re-version, Catholicism for me had been a series of doctrines and dogmas (and man was I good at following rules…and forcing them on other people!). Even after the re-version, I was slow in adjusting from a faith that was only based on rules to a faith based on a loving relationship with Christ. So, in preparation for Lent 2014, I sauntered confidently into my meeting with my spiritual director. With me, I carried an organized, bullet-point list of everything I planned to do for Lent.

No listening to music or podcasts.

Volunteering once a week.

Rosary every day.

A scriptural reflection throughout Lent.

No gossiping.

Daily Mass.

No snacks between meals.

No sweets.

I kid you not I had fully planned to do each and every one of those things. And would have, too. My spiritual director, a sweet little nun with a big smile and a quiet voice, read through the list thoughtfully. “Yes, Victory” (her very endearing nickname for me) “this is very good.” I beamed, confident in my all-star plan for Lent. “But…” (oh no, the dreaded but) “…but you’re not going to do any of this.” Straining to be humble, or at least not freak out, I replied: “Oh. What would you like me to do then, Sister?” She was quiet for a moment, reading through the list again. “Victory, I’d like you to do nothing for Lent.”


Nothing! The voice screamed in my head. I must’ve asked her twenty times just to clarify. You don’t want me to give up anything? Take on something? What about prayer, fasting, almsgiving? This went against literally everything I’d ever known about Catholicism since 1st grade CCD? I didn’t even think it was acceptable to do nothing (definitely talk this over with a spiritual director before you try this at home). But she was completely serious. Nothing.

We set up the parameters: I was to keep up my normal prayer, volunteer, and worship schedule. I was still to abstain from meat on Fridays. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, I wasn’t to cut anything out of the two small meals or one big meal. I was to do the bare minimum and nothing extra. It was…horrible. Everyone else would discuss the struggle and the sacrifice of what they gave up. What could I say? Oh, I gave up nothing? I told only a few people about it, and even then it was humiliating. “Oh you got it easy,” they would say, “I’m so jealous.” And that’s what I hated! I was taking the easy way out. I felt that Christ suffered and died for us, and there was nothing I could do about it.

Christ Gives Us Everything

I carried these feelings all the way through Lent. I would e-mail Sister weekly, asking her what this was accomplishing. She just advised me to continue to pray about it. God gave me no clarity at all about it. My soul was in darkness until Good Friday. I had just knelt down to venerate the cross, kissing the feet of Jesus and felt that had been my only act of love for Christ that whole Lent. Upon returning to my pew, I knelt down. A couple of thin tears fell down my cheeks (I’m not much of a crier, so this was a big deal).

There was my God, my Savior, and King, and all I could give Him was nothing. This whole Lent, I had given nothing. But, even through this, even when my own voice cried out “Crucify Him!”, He gave me everything. My life, my vocation, my talents—but most importantly, His own Life so that I could be with Him. Whatever I did or gave (or lack thereof) could not change His free, incredible gift.

It was in that powerful moment that I came to an incredible realization. Following the “rules” of Lent (prayer, fasting, and almsgiving) can be incredibly important, but it’s not the important thing. I found, through doing nothing for Lent, that Lent was really about letting Christ love me. Opening my heart to His Sacrifice and letting Him love me through it. The next time I met with Sister, my tail was between my legs…she had been totally right.

I pray so much, sisters, that you all are able to abandon yourself to the God Who gives us everything—even when we can give Him nothing.

Anni Ink Slingers Mary Prayer Revelation: Public vs. Private Rosary

Contemplating Eternity: The Encouragement of Our Lady of Fatima

We are living in dark, perilous times – no darker and no more perilous than the times preceding today’s society. However, as our society seems to descend into moral relativism, eschewing the notion in natural truth and law, many of us holding on to the belief in our Faith, and in God, are left holding the draw strings of a bag whose bottom is slowly coming unraveled.

The Chicken Little sky falling mantra does not seem to be shouted from the rooftops as pervasively as it has in times past. Instead, we seem complacent to let each other live our own truths, without thought to a much larger truth.

This month is the One-Hundredth Anniversary of the Final Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

Over the course of six months, Our Lady appeared to three small shepherd children, giving messages…

…and warnings.

Society was warned to repent and turn from sin…

…to recognize God in all His goodness and glory…

…to accept the Truth only God can offer us.

There is no timeline for when the warning will expire, since Jesus was pretty clear – only the Father knows the day, the time, and the hour.

Upon baptism and confirmation, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit sparked within our beings. As humans, longing for relationship, we constantly strive to seek the elusive relationship – the one that only God can provide… only He can provide a relationship with comfort, security, and true agape love. For, as Our Lady of Fatima explained during one of her apparitions,

Heaven is real.


…is also real.

And, Our Lady of Fatima provides us with warning…

…and encouragement.

There are testimonies throughout history which indicate just how transformative the Rosary can be – for individuals, and for societies. In addition to this month being the hundredth anniversary of the final apparition of Fatima, this month is also the 446th anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, whose outcome secured the victory of Christendom in the West over Islam. The success at Lepanto has historically been attributed to the power of the Rosary. Our Lady of Fatima reiterated praying the Rosary as an avenue to convert hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.

Our Lady of Fatima encouraged us to be on guard against sins of impurity, and to offer sacrifices throughout our days – offering up our small sacrifices for love of Jesus, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins.

One hundred years ago, Our Lady reminded us of a framework to succeed in getting to heaven.

But, as we are also warned in Matthew 7:13-14,

As Lieutenant General (Retired) Hal Moore once said during an interview with EWTN, “I’m in the business of eternity, and I hope I am successful in that business.” While difficult and wildly unpopular it is to do so at times, it is not impossible for us to keep an eye on the end goal of our eternal life. Even if it makes us stand out, and makes this life difficult at times, it is not outside the realm of possibility for us to keep eternal life at the forefront of our thoughts and actions.

Keeping our eternity in mind requires vigilance, prayer, sacrifice, and love.

It should also lead us to ask ourselves if we are doing all we can to ensure we are choosing the gate and the road that leads to eternal life?