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
For most families Lent is a time of sacrifice, where we omit vices and recommit our lives to Him. And so each and every year our family follows the typical tradition of giving something up, a sacrifice of doing without something that will be difficult. Each and every year, we reach for the stars.
For example, I struggle with food. I use it to celebrate. I use it to console. So, in Lent’s past, I Fast, like legit fast. I’m talking 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 I find a peace that is quite unusual in my crazy life.
Dan has given up energy drinks in the past, something he relies on as much as we all rely on oxygen. As for the kids, they are surprisingly good at recognizing difficult sacrifices and going all in.
But Lent is much more than simply sacrificing and suffering. Lent is a time of preparation, and as such, over the years, we’ve adopted a few family Lent Traditions…
Pray as Family
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. In it we placed pieces of paper, shaped as hearts, with names of friends, family, priests, politicians, special intentions, etc.
We’ve expanded this into Lent now. Each night we choose a heart or two and pray for the person or special intention on that paper.
Stations of the Cross
The Stations of the Cross are a 14-step Catholic devotion that commemorates Jesus Christ’s last day on Earth as a man. Our church offers the Stations every Friday night throughout Lent and we’ve made it a Lent Tradition to go as a family, especially on Good Friday, the day the events actually took place.
The stations are commonly used as a mini pilgrimage. As you move from station to station you recall, pray and meditate on a specific event from Christ’s last day. You will most commonly find the Stations of the Cross in churches as small icons on the walls inside.
And, of course our family fav, Resurrection Eggs. Here’s the link that shows you how to make Resurrection Eggs and gives you the history behind them: 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 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. Why? How can the same food served at bars have spiritual meaning? Well, it dates as far back as the 4th century!! Back in the Roman Empire, the faithful kept a very strict fast throughout all of Lent. They ate no butter, no cheese, no eggs, no cream and no meat and drank no milk!!
They made small breads from water, flour and salt, to remind themselves that Lent was a time of prayer and sacrifice.
There are many stories recanting how the pretzel was born. One story claims a monk saw children in prayer and shaped this bread in the form of crossed arms.
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 that you can make with your children and even adopt as one of your family’s Lent Traditions.
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.
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!