For example, in the process of packing up our whole household for moving, we are inevitably going to do a serious purge of unnecessary stuff as we sort through every single item we own. We'll be forced to eat a lot of things out of the freezer/pantry over the next month, because I don't want to have to move ALL that food. And I'm guessing a lot of meals during Lent will be obligatorily simple because we'll be so busy packing/moving/unpacking/dealing with a brand-new baby!
I will admit, I'm pretty excited that being pregnant (and then breastfeeding) gives me a good excuse not to have to fast this year. I don't know why, but fasting is *the* hardest thing for me. I turn into a horrible human being very quickly when I'm hungry. Tom has decided to follow the pre-Vatican II Lenten rules of fasting every day of Lent [eating one normal meal and two small ones, with nothing in between], as well as partial abstinence [i.e. meat only at one meal per day]. And this year, I don't have to feel guilty or wimpy for not joining him.
My main sacrifice is going to be giving up the internet anytime the kids are awake. I can't even imagine how much more productive this is going to make me! And how much more of an "available" mother...
I just need to make sure to work in some time amidst all this running around for some actual reflection and prayer.
We are moving across the street from a Catholic church. Would I be insane to try to attend a daily Mass alone with two little ones and a newborn?
Lent for little kids
I've never done anything with the kids for Lent before since Sly seemed too young to "get it." This year, I think he's ready for something simple. He enjoyed "doing good things for baby Jesus" during Advent (as represented by a piece of hay he could put into the manger). I would like to try something similar with him for Lent. Mary Reed Newland (The Year & Our Children) suggests dying lima beans purple and having children add one to a jar each time they offer some sort of sacrifice. Just as the beans (appear to) "die" when you bury them in the dirt, only to spring forth in new life, they remind us that when we die to ourselves, we will find new life in Christ.
We're going to try something similar. Recently, Sly has been begging us to make him a little string of beads "like St. Therese had" to count up his "presents for God."
Have you read the Catholic Children's Treasure Box books? They are re-printed from the 1950s, and they are fantastic. Sly loves the stories, and has learned so much about the Faith through reading and talking with us about them. The writing is so much more direct and hard-hitting than most modern books for Catholic children. This is where Sly learned about Therese's sacrifice counter. One of the books tells the story about how she used one as a child (which, I believe, she writes about in Story of a Soul?), and has instructions at the end for making your own.
Every time the child makes a small sacrifice for God, he slides one bead along the string. At the end of the day, he can tell God how many "presents" he has to offer Him.
|Sly chose a St. Bernadette medal. He's been talking about her a lot since her recent feast day :-)|
Does anyone else have some good ideas to help young children (Sly is only three-and-a-half) understand a bit of the meaning of Lent?
[I should note that my son refuses to do coloring pages, so I'm always looking for something more original!]