The Lenten season of reflection, prayer, fasting and simple living will arrive on Feb. 10, 2016. How do you plan to celebrate the season?
Everyone has their own way of celebrating Lent—and if you’re looking to start some new traditions or need a little inspiration, Leaflet Missal can help. Below you’ll find seven ideas for celebrating Lent from some of our Catholic blogger friends.
Idea 1: Embrace Simplicity
For Martina Kreitzer’s family, Lent is a time of prayerful reflection on their relationship with Jesus and living more simply.
“On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, we close all our shutters and let the darkness remind us of the beginning of the penitential season and the solemn nature of the Crucifixion,” the Catholic Sistas blogger says of her family’s traditions. “We also refrain from electronic devices—which can be really tough for us adults—in the home. For our meal, we usually eat simple meals of challah bread bought from the store or make our own unleavened bread, some fruit and water.
Idea 2: Create a Prayer Chain
“For me, Lent is an opportunity to minimize the distractions, noise and clutter that get in the way of my relationship with God,” Abbey Davis Dupuy of Surviving Our Blessings says. “I can get so busy with my tasks that I forget to seek Christ first in all things. Lent is a chance to refocus.”
As part of her family’s celebration, they create a prayer chain with a link for each day from Ash Wednesday to Easter.
“We write the name of a person for whom we will pray (a friend, family member, or someone who might not have anyone to pray for them) on each link,” she describes. “Each day when we remove the link of chain, we pray for that person. We take the opportunity to let each person know that we are praying for them and to ask for any special intentions they might have.”
Idea 3: Do a Praise Walk
Dawn Hanigan believes that the Lenten season offers a mood of quiet purpose and promise.
“I like to think of it as a little spring cleaning for the soul,” she says.
While the By Sun and Candlelight blogger and her family have a few Lenten traditions such as adding greens to a bare cross and planting seeds in a bowl of ashen earth on Palm Sunday, her favorite is doing a praise walk, or nature walk, on Holy Saturday.
“On this day—which is often bleak and cold here in New England—we search for signs of new life, and marvel over the world God has created just for us,” she says.
Get more details on praise walks.
Idea 4: Think Outside the Box
Kendra Tierney of Catholic All Year has experienced some Lenten fails in her lifetime. As a result, she’s used those experiences to reshape how her family approaches Lent.
“In our house, we now view Lent as a time to try adding or taking away things from our personal and family lives to see if we are improved,” she explains. “We make it a time, not of suffering (necessarily) but rather of increased focus on God and others and decreased focus on self and personal comfort.”
For example, she suggests leaving the best parking spot in the lot for someone else or committing to weekly family dinners.
“I have found that I can take up or give up just about anything, no matter how big or small, and use it as a reminder to pray more and love more,” Kendra says.
Check out Kendra’s list of 66 Things to Give Up or Take Up for Lent.
Idea 5: Get Your Littlest Family Members Involved
Since toddlers don't always understand the concept of giving something up for Lent, Jessica Gordon has her littlest ones focus on giving away rather than giving up.
“I stock the bottom shelves of the pantry with appropriate food items that can be donated, and every day the little ones choose something to place in a box to be donated to a needy person or organization,” she says. “I fit this extra food into our grocery budget by serving simple meals throughout lent, especially on Fridays.”
If you’re looking for a little extra activity, create your own Lent calendar. See Jessica’s tutorial on her blog Shower of Roses. Also check out her other blog, Catholic Cuisine, for yummy recipes for any time of year.
Idea 6: A Little of This, A Little of That
“After the excesses of the holiday season and in the dead of winter, it seems like a perfect time to rethink, repent and return to Christ,” Jen Steed of Happy Little Homemaker says.
For her and her family, their celebration of Lent encompass a few different, simple traditions.
“We tend to simplify our belongings at this time which mostly falls on me, but my oldest is old enough to go through her things this year,” she says. “We also eat more simply and go without something rather than making a special trip if we run out. For prayer, we usually add a station of the cross each day and more spiritual reading, both to the children (ages 7, 5, and 2) as well as for myself, eagerly awaiting the resurrection accompanied as it is by new life outside, rainbow colored dresses and warmer weather.”
Idea 7: Pick a Spiritual Project
“Lent is a great time for my family, because we add to our daily family prayer and also agree to work on a spiritual project as a family,” blogger Marcel LeJeune of Aggie Catholic says. “Every year we do something different that we think we need to work on as a group and then help each other achieve that goal together. Lent is one of our favorite times of the year, because it always helps open us to the grace God is constantly pouring out on us.”
From committing to more family faith discussions to learning about others’ Lenten traditions, the possibilities for your own spiritual project are endless.
For more inspiration, here are some suggested books and reflections from Leaflet Missal:
- Lent and Easter – Wisdom from St. Augustine
- Walking with Jesus to Calvary (children’s book)
- The Way of the Cross (children’s book)
From everyone at Leaflet Missal, we wish you a reflective and happy Lenten season.