Every year around lent I hear many people bash others who give up things, especially dietary things. If you are using lent as an excuse to get back on you diet and nothing else I might agree, but I if you use those sacrifice to discipline yourself and implore God I think they can be great gifts to him. When I think about sacrifice I go back to this passage...
Romans 8:13 says, "For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live."
What should we be doing? Well perhaps we should just simply turn to the Catechism it says "The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church's penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies and pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works)." (CCC 1438)
As my children are getting older and slowly starting to understand more I have been racking my brain trying to come up with a special way for them to celebrate lent also. I googled and came across a couple really good ideas like the jelly bean prayer, the count down crown, or a lent box. Still I think they are a bit young to understand, so we pray with them and do our best to explain, but hopefully next year we will be able to do more with them. If I am able to do something more with them I'll keep you posted!
My focus for lent this year is the saints. There is great wisdom to be found in the lives of the saints. We can learn how to better love God and find strength in their story, knowing we are not alone. I don't know what I will find but I am excited for the journey through their lives. Each week during lent I am going to read up on a different Saint. I'll be learning about Saint John Vianney, Saint Therese of Lisieux, Saint Cecelia, Saint Francis de Sales, and one other that is yet to be determined. They all have a special meaning to me already and I wish I could tell you more then that they are saints.
Do you have a saint that you have been wanting to learn more about?