“The observance of Lent is the very badge of the Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God’s glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe.” —Pope Benedict XIV
Every year our family follows the typical tradition of giving something up in our lives, of doing without something that will be a burden, something that will be a sacrifice to give up. We always reach for the stars and this year is no different. For example, I struggle with food. I use it to celebrate, I use it to console and I use it to fill up that God hole all of us have inside us. This Lent I am going to embark on a Fast. 46 days of RAW juice, nothing more, nothing less. Fasting transforms my life, it puts things in perspective and, after the first week or so (during which, Watch Out) I find a peace that is quite unusual in my crazy life.
We are all trying to convince Dan to do without energy drinks, but I think he relies on those as much as we all do oxygen, so we’ll see, but don’t hold your breath. And, as for the kids, I think the majority consensus amongst the boys is to give up all video games. And, of course, you know, every year, without fail, one of the kids ask if they can give up school, claiming it would be a burden to try to catch up or a burden to not have learned something. Ha Ha, they think they are so clever. Then there are the kids who originally plan to sacrifice everything and anything because they want to suffer … The dichotomy between these two “plans” is a great way to reflect with our kids about why it is that we sacrifice and deprive ourselves during Lent.
Now, this year, we’ve decided to spice it up a bit and not only give something up, but also add something to our lives. And so, we’ve decided to pray, as a family, for specific intentions for others after dinner throughout Lent. Some of you may have seen our St. Valentine vlog, KelloggShow Valentine Vlog, in it we talked about how we made a prayer vase and we wrote out lots and lots of names of friends, family, priests, politicians, and even special requests from viewers and others on little hearts. The plan was to pick a name throughout the month of February and pray for that person. Instead we have decided to expand on this idea and practice it throughout the Lenten season. If you have a prayer request, please don’t hesitate to let us know and we will add your intention to the vase!!!
After dinner, one or two or three kids, depending on the number of names in the prayer vase, will pick a name after dinner and we will pray for that person and the intention listed on the heart. I also think it would be cool to write their names on a calendar and let them know when we prayed for them … many miracles are performed through prayer and we have our own little prayer army, (I’m thinking out loud here) I think then we could email them or send them a card to let them know we prayed for them on such and such a date. Then the person lifted in prayer can look back and witness to any miracles on that day. Oh that’s just awesome!! Would be even more amazing if they shared it with all of us.
And then, because I’ve gone craft crazy, in fact I’m even learning to knit with Kady and Kerry (who would have ever thought?), we are going to incorporate some ideas I’ve had, but never incorporated. I’ll post pictures if and when we finish these “plans”.
The first idea, is for one of our kids (mommy has zero artistic talent) to make a Lenten Calendar on posterboard as a visual countdown to Easter for the younger kids. Something tangible that they can see as we work our way through the traditions of fasting, abstinence, prayer and The Stations. It will show, of course, Ash Wednesday, the First Sunday, Second Sunday, Third Sunday, Fourth Sunday (Laetare Sunday), and fifth Sunday of Lent, the Feast of St. Patrick, Feast of St. Joseph (March 19th), the Anunciation of our Lord (March 25), Palm Sunday (April 1), Holy Thursday (April 5), Good Friday, Holy Saturday and of course Easter Sunday. I can’t wait to see what they come up with … I’m known as the idea chick, the kids bring the ideas into fruition!! :)
And of course our fav, Resurrection Eggs … see last year’s post (includes a video) that show you how to make your own Resurrection Eggs, the story behind them and how to use this activity with your kids!! Here’s the link: Resurrection Eggs How To They’re simply plastic Easter Eggs that contain different religious Easter symbols inside to help kids learn the Easter story. My kids love the being able to touch the eggs and open them to reveal an item and a bible verse. They can pretty much recite the verses on their own now.
The link above gives all the details, from ideas of what to put in the eggs to the corresponding bible verses. There is also a link to a fantastic book, Benjamin’s Box, The Story of The Resurrection Eggs … check it out, we love it!
And finally, there is the pretzel. The pretzel, believe it or not, has a deep spiritual meaning for Lent, it’s actually the most appropriate food symbol for Lent. Why? How? You mean the same food served at bars has spiritual meaning? Yep, and it dates as far back as the 4th century!! Way back in the Roman Empire, the faithful kept a very strict fast throughout all of Lent. They tet no butter, no cheese, no eggs, no cream and no meat and drank no milk!!
They made small breads of water, flour and salt, to remind themselves that Lent was a time of prayer. Now, there are several stories surrounding how the pretzel was born, one claims a monk saw children in prayer and shaped this bread in the form of crossed arms as that is how the people would pray in those days: with their arms crossed over their breast while praying. Another claims the people themselves did this and called the bread ”little arms”. From this Latin word, the Germanic people later coined the term “pretzel.”
Regardless of it’s true origins, the pretzel still is made in the form of arms crossed in prayer, reminding us that Lent is a time of prayer. It consists only of water and flour, thus proclaiming Lent as a time of fasting.
Here is a fabulous pretzel recipe:
Soft Pretzel Recipe~ What you need:
- 1 package yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 4 cups flour
Mix your yeast, water, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, and knead until the dough is smooth. Shape into the form of arms crossed in prayer and place it on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with salt, and bake in an oven preheated to 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
If anyone knows of a recipe that does not need yeast, please please pass it on to ME!! :) And, of course, please share your ideas, what you do with your family, your traditions, and any special things you do to bring Lent to life for your kids. Feel free to post links to your blogs or your website in the comment section below. God Bless you all, have a very focused Lenten Season and a Glorious Easter!