As most people know, this is my favorite season in the year... no, I'm not talking about the nasty snow of winter, or the time where we just sit and dare to dream of the sunny, warmth of summer... no my favorite season is the liturgical season of Lent. Fun Fact:Lent means "spring forth" in latin! Why would anyone like the time of year when we are told to "give up" something? Well, to me Lent is a season of conversion, a time where we turn our lives more completely over to Christ and His Way that we are truly called to live. It's not where we abstain from sin, sinful behavoir, or a bad habit; no, instead, we are called to learn how to live without the roots of sin in our lives that blind us daily. To me, this is the most beautiful season we can celebrate as we continue to renew our hearts and lives for Christ's love.
For our family, the season really gears up before we start on Ash Wednesday. The babies and I have been preparing for this liturgical season for about two weeks now... constantly contemplating what I'll "give up" (a.k.a. in Church language as abstain), what we as a family can add to our lives as we pray and discern about the sacrifice of Christ's love for us... a lot of people asked me what I'd give up. Food was out of the question for me... it just seemed to much like a diet thing to do for 40 days... I don't have homework anymore to try to get out of saying I'm sacrificing my homework time for prayer time (yes, as a teen I did try this excuse; no, it did not fly with the rents)... I couldn't cut television time, since I don't really watch television in the first place, nor do I think it's sacrificial to give up.
With all that in mind and a LOT of praying, SuperHubby and I gave up our bed. Being early in my pregnancy, I really had to think about this sacrifice... I mean it's my bed! And if you've ever been pregnant, falling asleep can be hard enough on its own because your body aches all the time in the first place, so a good night's sleep is rare...so my BED was definiately going to be a sacrifice to deal with. But not only are we called to "give up" something, we are asked to add to our Lenten journey as well...for our little.but.growing.family, we've added a nightly prayer of a super novena!! It's basically 6 novenas rolled up into a HUGE amount of awesome prayer...SuperHubby found this one... and the babies, well they aren't really old enough to give up yet, but they have added a special morning prayer with Mommy for our priests and the vocations to religious and priesthood as well... thus far, it's been really great.
Not only is this season a time for abstaining. It's a time for prayer, fasting (especially from meats on Fridays), and almsgiving! As I said before, it's a time for adding something a little more to your daily routine... for many of my friends, I hear adding a rosary is a big one for Lent...I think it's a wonderful idea to add structured prayer time into our days. Some people add the stations of the cross during this season. By adding prayers to our lenten journey, it helps strengthen our personal relationships with God for this time of conversion. By fasting, we grow through a physical and outward sign of self-control as we grow closer to Christ.
But the third pillar of Lent, alsmgiving, I always found a bit harder, yet more meaningful, to do. We are already called to give in tiething; but as addition fun money has seized to exist, it's become increasing more difficult to remind myself it's all in God's hands if we only put our trust in Him. I did think it was genius for the Catholic Service Appeal to happen within the past few weeks for our Archdiocese. I was actually very excited to give after looking into how our almsgiving can give to so many different services used by families around the area. But the challenge is to allow the almsgiving to be an act where we do trust in God with a part of our lives we like to tell people to stay out of, our pockets. It's a challenge, but in the end, I think it's mucho important to remind ourselves to let God into all avenues of our lives.
So, now I want to know, what did YOU give up and add for your Lenten journey? How's your journey going? How are you letting God be your guide in this season?