Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.


Ash Wednesday and Lent

I have a book I bought several years ago when I converted to Catholicism. I figured if I'm going to do this, I want to do it right. My book "Guiding your Catholic Preschooler: Bringing Up Kids Roman Catholic" has been a wonderful little how-to for me to get the kids to understand why we do what we do.

My challenge, as it is each year at this time: Lent and Ash Wednesday.

Lent is a time of sacrifice. Pickle is struggling with this one. He is only 12, but has already been confirmed, so he is an adult in the church's eyes and will follow Lent as an adult. He will refrain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and on the Fridays during Lent. He is also going to give up something for the season, too: gum. That is a big deal in our family as that is a special treat for the kids.

According to my book, Lent is a special time set aside by the church to help us focus on our journey to God. We should use this time to grow spiritually and get back on track with our faith.

Ok, good enough.

More from the book: There are three main components in preparing for Easter: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

I think we'll get Hot Rod to learn the Our Father. He hasn't mastered this one yet. That will be his Easter goal. The book suggests fasting from any "earthly pleasure" such as TV or computer time. Give it up from 6 to 8 p.m. each night. For the almsgiving, we have collection boxes from church. A combo for fasthing and almsgiving may be to decorate a box and collect a food item each of the 40 days of Lent to the food bank on Good Friday. The kids will be sacrificing something from their pantry.

We begin Lent on Ash Wednesday by putting ashes on our forehead, and during that time our spiritual focus is upon our need to feel the forgiveness of Jesus. Our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told "Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return." Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.

This will be another special Easter season for my family. Last year, Pickle received his first communion and confirmation. This year, Hot Rod will have his first reconciliation and his first communion. The special events make it even more meaningful.

Here is to hoping your Fat Tuesday was a good one and that we'll all be humbled by the Lenten season.


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