With the Lenten season upon us, I sense the deep desert already.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.” By the solemn forty days of Lent, the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.” (paragraph 540)
Finally – some peace and quiet!
OK, not completely – but truly a move in the right direction for this family.
With the hubby’s career, my own work, the children’s activities, Mardi Gras break, and this crazy weather – it is nice to have universal permission to slow down and immerse ourselves into what really matters.
My daughters are really teaching me a thing or two about Lent. The 12 year old especially is helping our whole family to experience sacrifice and desert moments.
Elani Marie (12 year old) chose to keep her penance a secret for Lent. Though we do like to know what the children are doing in order to support them or help them modify, her request was sincere and reflective, so we decided to allow it.
Inadvertently, our family did find out about her penance. When we found out her deeply thoughtful penance, I was in awe of Our Lord and how He is forming Elani for something beautiful in her life. She has really walked straight into the desert, with the fortitude of St. Joan of Arc. She has united herself with Jesus in the desert.
Elani has taught me to slow down and immerse myself in the desert. She has taught me to combat hatred with love. She has taught me to always have faith and turn to Jesus. She has taught me that no matter how chaotic life can seem, the Lord speaks to your heart in silence, and when we are uncomfortable enough to seek His Holy Will.
As a working Catholic mom, I am challenged to “make time” for the silence and discomfort. I struggle with obvious moments present throughout the day, when I choose different distractions. I often worry about the most mundane things – filling my intellect with trivial moments and garbage.
Elani taught me that it is only in service of and solidarity with others that we are able to make meaning of the desert experience.
I have learned to do the following things this Lent, in order to travel the road to the Cross:
1. Give yourself permission, as the Church has given you, to enter into the desert in solidarity with Christ.
2. Do not boast of your penance. If possible, keep it as close to you and Jesus as you can. Let this Lent be a love story for you and Jesus.
3. Carve out special family time. This does not have to be big and complicated. We are eating dinner together as usual, but more. We also usually institute Family Fun Friday. This is a sacrifice for the teens!
4. If possible – get to daily Mass, once a week Adoration, and Stations of the Cross.
5. Try to commit to NOT bringing work home. Try to finish all of your daily work within your work hours.
6. Have your penance be a gift to Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Consider all He did for us. Bury yourself deeply into His Sacred Heart, where peace and Divine Love live.
This is how I’ve experienced Elani Marie’s Lenten journey, except for the whole, “Don’t bring work home.” Elani doesn’t work. That would not be right. She does have chores…she rarely does those. I have to offer that to the Lord.
Praise God for the journey.
Praise God for our work.
Praise God for our children.
Peace and Blessings during the Lenten Season,