Amazingly enough, tomorrow is already Ash Wednesday, the beginning of our Lenten journey towards Easter. Weren’t we just celebrating Christmas?!? As happens to me every year at this time, the days leading up to Ash Wednesday are filled with conflicting emotions: excitement that Easter will soon be upon us, but mostly, anxiety about the discipline that I know comes with the Lenten season! How silly that after all these years of going through Lent I still dread the discipline that comes with it – I know the fruits of extra prayer, fasting, works of mercy, etc., but part of me is afraid to enter into it all! I think this is because Lent is in large part about dying – to our own desires, inclinations, habits, whatever – in order that we might LIVE as we were intended to live. But dying is hard, it doesn’t come naturally (at least to me!), so I will be asking Our Lord for many graces this Lent!
I found the following “Question and Answer” page to be helpful in my preparation:
Here is a neat idea for a children’s activity during Lent:
“Crown of Thorns”
Twist some bread dough into a braid and then into a circle, making sure that the ends are together. After it has risen for the last time, place sharp toothpicks all over the braid, but not too far in as you want it to look like a crown with thorns sticking out.
As children are caught being good, carrying out a work of mercy, or other good works, let them pull a thorn out of Jesus’ crown and place it in a jar. Remind them that every time we do these things we are truly aiding Him, but when we do the opposite we are wounding Him again.
One final thought on this Ash Wednesday…The reflection in our parish’s Lenten booklet for today actually relates very well to the reason for our blogs title, “Building Cathedrals,” so it caught my attention. Here is a small portion:
“Historians tell us that the stone carvers of the famous medieval cathedrals never signed their art. They preferred to work anonymously, solely for the honor and glory of God. The story of the stone carvers and the words of Jesus about not making a show of what you do invite me to inventory my motives for working and giving.”
In the context of being a wife and mother, the idea of “not making a show” of what we do day in and day out can be a very humbling, and at times frustrating, thing for us to do! On days when I have spent lots of time cleaning the house, or when the kids and I have had a particularly difficult day, or when I haven’t gotten much sleep because the baby was up a lot, I want to tell my hubby about it so that he knows what I have done for our family! Of course, the truth is that he usually notices whether I tell him or not, but when he doesn’t notice, boy do I get frustrated! Here comes the tough part: If I notice that I’m getting resentful towards my hubby and kids because I’m feeling unappreciated, should I offer up my frustration and move on, or should I talk to my hubby about it? I don’t think that there is one clear-cut answer, and here’s why: For the sake of preserving a strong marriage union, I think that there needs to be clear communication with our spouse about how we’re feeling, especially when resentment starts to creep in. On the other hand, it would be great if I could offer up my frustrations for the sufferings of others, the sins of the world, etc., and I will ask Our Lord for the grace to do this more often!
This makes me realize that ET probably feels unappreciated just as often as I do, which makes me think that maybe we should give each other the “benefit of the doubt” more often. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could assume that ET is doing the best that he can for our family all of the time, whether I see it or not?! Then maybe I wouldn’t get so upset when he walks in the door a few minutes late 🙂
Thanks for bearing with me in this rambling post! May God bless you and your family as we venture into this season of Lent together!