THE FAMILY ZONE
Equipping the Domestic Church/ISSUE 106/2.19.23
Preparing our Hearts and Homes for the Season of Lent
How do you prepare for the season of Lent? Begin by bringing it to prayer. Where in your life do you need to transform? What areas require growth or change? Ask God to help you discover the answers to these questions.
During Lent, we pray, fast, and give to help us grow closer to God. When considering prayer, you may decide to become more conversational with God on a daily basis, focus on learning a specific prayer or devotion or commit to attending Adoration regularly. There are so many ways we can increase our prayer lives! Operation Rice Bowl from Catholic Relief Services is a wonderful way to give Alms, but you may also have a local charity you are interested in supporting through gifts of money, time or items. Finally, fasting is a required Lenten practice for all those who are in good health and not nursing or pregnant between the ages of 18 and 59. We fast between meals on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and we avoid meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent. Most of us also choose to fast from something else, additionally. When we think about the things we give up, we are drawn to thinking about God and our focus shifts. It is helpful to fast from something that keeps you separated from God on a daily basis or interferes with your path toward holiness.
The main focus of the season should be drawing our attention toward God. What will help you do that best?
LIVE THE EUCHARIST
“Sweetest Jesus, Body and Blood most Holy, be the delight and pleasure of my soul, my strength and salvation in all temptations, my joy and peace in every trial, my light and guide in every word and deed, and my final protection in death. Amen.” ~ St. Thomas Aquinas
This prayer, by St. Thomas Aquinas, is often said after receiving the Eucharist. It truly reminds us that Christ dwells within us once we receive his body and blood at Mass. Look closely at the words of the prayer. What sentence speaks most to what you need from Jesus. Work to memorize this prayer so that you may use it as a source of guidance and reflection throughout the 40 days of Lent.
Click on the link below for the readings that you will hear at the Sunday Mass for the coming two weeks. This will give you a chance to prepare your heart and mind for full and active participation in Mass this weekend! For a Mass schedule in our diocese click on the purple button below.
Family Stories: Here are some stories that help kids focus on the Lenten attitudes of prayer, fasting and almsgiving:
- Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer Storybook: A True Story of How You Can Talk with God by Laura Wifler
- Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming
- The Pencil by Susan Avingaq
Lenten Actions Cards - Catechist's Journey
Lenten Promise Place Mats | Loyola Press
A Comprehensive List of Catholic Podcasts for Every Interest
- Choose moments in the day: Try to start every morning with a prayer. Pray with your children before they fall asleep. Pray as a family at mealtime.
- Add some time for silennce and reflection into your day; even if it is just 10 minutes.
- Try to pray a decade of the Rosary or the chaplet of Divine Mercy every day of Lent
- Try lectio divina. Open a Bible or a Bible app and spend some time prayerfully reading and meditating on even just one verse of scripture. Make your way through one of the four Gospels during Lent by reading and reflecting on the message each day.
- Put a prayer app on your phone such as Hallow, Pray as You Go, or Reimagine the Examen. These can give you daily prompts to remind you to pray.
- Attend daily Mass and prioritize the Sunday Mass.
- Create a jar of intentions. Add a new one every day to pray with your family. (pray for your neighbors, our leaders, your priest, frontline workers, grocery clerks, teachers...there are so many who need our prayers! )
- Pray the stations of the Cross. This beautiful prayer can be prayed all year but you’ll find it available to be prayed with a group at many parishes during Lent. There are dozens of online versions as well.
- On Fridays, share a faith-themed book or story as a family and add in .."for what shall we pray?" before bedtime to encourage family faith conversations.
Split into two teams. The idea is to GIVE more than you RECEIVE. Give each team a paper plate and 50 of one item (m & m's, paper clips, pennies...whatever you have) Place the two paper plates with their 50 items a piece at opposite ends of something such as the dining room table, the driveway, or the family room. Have a timer ready to set to 10 minutes. The task of each team is to give more than they receive. Taking only one item off their plate at a time, each team is tasked with delivering items to the other team's plate. When the timer starts, all team members can play at the same time WITHOUT delivering more than one item at a time. There will be chaos, laughter and some frustration but ultimately one team will likely end up with less on their plate! Following the game, talk about why it's better to give, than receive, and make a family plan to give to others during Lent!
- Oxytocin creates a sense of connection with others
- Dopamine gives a sense of pleasure
- Serotonin regulates our mood
- Endorphins boost our self-esteem and elevate our level of happiness
We can give financially, but we can also give our time and show we care without any material investment. It's as if our brains were wired to be in community with one another and build the kingdom of God! Hmmm!! How can your family practice almsgiving this Lenten season and increase your overall wellness at the same time?!
Lent is 40 Days: The Significance of the Number 40 in the Bible
WORD OF THE WEEK!
- Am I ever out of God's presence?
- Do I forget that God is present? What things in my life cause me to forget God is here with me?
- If God is present with me, what does God think about me? How does God know me? How can I know God?
- If I feel distant from God, how do I return to God? What types of things can I do during Lent to draw closer to God?
Office of Evangelization and Catechesis
Roman Catholic Diocese of RochesterDebtor in Possession