Honing 40/40 vision - Live Lent’s 40 days with 40 faith-building ways
COLCHESTER, Vt. (Catholic Online) – The season of Lent brings to mind thoughts of reflection, fasting and “giving up.” Lent can also be thought of as a wonder-full opportunity to take 40 days - or what is left of them - to make desired life changes that may have been set aside due to ultra-busy schedules.
FILE PHOTO OF CROSS DRAPED IN PURPLE OUTSIDE CHURCH DURING LENT - A cloudy evening sky provides the backdrop for a cross outside St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y., during Lent last April. The penitential season, which begins with Ash Wednesday, calls Christians to prayer, fasting, repentance and charity. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic)
“I don’t want to…”
“Why do we have to..?” The answer is quite simple. This is the season of Lent and adults and parents can lead their families into new, more meaningful ways of spending time. Pulling the plug on television and Web surfing for 40 days and 40 nights is unrealistic in today’s society. But, one hour or one half hour shouldn’t be too much to ask. As Catholics, we are blessed with 40 days and 40 nights to reflect on our lives and actively make changes to improve our lives and strengthen our faith. Listed below are 40 ways to care and share during the season of Lent: 1. Have special time to walk outdoors with your spouse and/or children and let them know how special they are. 2. Encourage your children to talk about a topic of their choice, and really listen to what they are saying. 3. Set time set aside for reading to children. 4. Make an effort to have family meals more regularly, even a fun meal like pizza. 5. Make a quick stop at a relative’s house for an overdue visit. 6. Remember to say grace at mealtime. 7. Pray in the evening alone, as a couple and/or as a family. 8. Pray the rosary together. 9. Go to the library to find artwork by the masters that relates to the Lenten season. 10. Volunteer at a food shelf to help prepare a meal. 11. Sort through closets and give away outgrown clothes to a charity. 12. Offer some time to help out at the parish. 13. Read from a meditation book. 14. Make a visit to a nursing home. 15. Offer to have children’s friend, especially one experiencing trouble in their life, over for a meal. 16. Call a friend that you haven’t talked to in some time. 17. Have family discussions about the season of Lent. 18. Share some your favorite music with the family and ask that they do the same, encouraging dialogue about music and creating a new way to spend time together. 19. Begin to plan for planting and caring for a garden. 20. Prepare new recipes that are related to the season of Lent. 21. Plan for an extra special Easter celebration. 22. Go to Mass on days other than on Saturday and Sunday. 23. Find time for play as a family, experiencing how positive it is share joy together. 24. Take time to listen and look at the natural wonders that God has created. 25. Go to confession. 26. Keep some fresh flowers or a flowering plant as a reminder of spring and the coming of Easter. 27. Sit and meditate in a prayerful way. 28. Do some arts and craft projects connected to Lent with young children. 29. Participate in Operation Rice Bowl. 30. Write an overdue thank you note to someone who has done a kindness. 31. Call a friend or relative that has recently experienced a loss. 32. Have a regular family reading hour. 33. Create a Lenten gratitude list as a family, adding one or more items each day. 34. Begin spring housecleaning or indoor projects in a present state of prayer and a joyful spirit. 35. Take time to review negative behaviors. 36. Consider ways to create more positive behaviors. 37. Give away smiles. 38. Try to avoid complaining and criticizing. 39. Offer to help with someone else’s project. 40. Offer prayers of thanks in the morning and at the end of the day. If our efforts to make changes falter, we can remind ourselves that we are not perfect. We can also remember that we are given the gift starting the process over again and taking another opportunity to consciously make choices in line with the life we have been taught to live as Catholics. - - - Mary Carty is Home and Family editor at Catholic Online.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
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