We will be using our Lenten Spiral again--it's become a family favorite as we move our wooden Jesus figure through the spiral and remember His suffering and unconditional love for us. sufferings and love for us. This year, we will use it at breakfast time while saying this special prayer to the Holy Spirit, suggested by Father Rocky at Relevant Radio, to guide the College of Cardinals during their conclave to decide the new spiritual leader of our universal church.
After St. Valentine's Day, my daughter and I will transform our Valentine Tree (see here) into a Lent Tree. We'll be using the paper prayer chain and paper prayer dolls (designed by Jennifer at Catholic Inspired) to help us remember to pray for others. We'll also be doing this "Change of Heart" activity from Loyola Press. We'll place purple hearts on our tree to keep track of our success with our Lenten resolutions. I'll post photos of our tree after St. Valentine's Day.
I finally broke down and purchased the "Jesus Tree" kit from Leaflet Missal. Unfortunately, I didn't allow enough time to cut all the pieces out of felt!
So instead, I made a photocopy of the patterns. My daughter will color, cut and paste the appropriate ornament/symbol each day while we do our morning prayer based on the scripture recommendations in the kit. We will then hang the ornaments on our Lent Tree.
We will also be using our Stations of the Cross prayer gems while we meditate on Jesus' sufferings. I know that I will be sometimes using them in the car while waiting for my son at his soccer practice, so I may occasionally combine them with this iPhone app or this one, which appears to have images that match those on our prayer gems. Or maybe I'll download a podcast; this one looks interesting.
Do any of you know of a good Way of the Cross app with audio, podcast or audio CD?
This year, our family will try to eat "meatless" at least two days per week -- on Wednesdays and Fridays. Fridays will be an easy meal, since our parish holds "Friday Soup and Stations/Taize Prayer" events throughout Lent. I'll just need to plan the Wednesday meals.
On a personal note: I started following the "Mediterranean Diet" in January, and discovered that many "Mediterranean" type menu plans and recipes would be perfect for Lent, since there is a bigger emphasis on fruits, vegetables and nuts, and meat (beef, chicken, pork, lamb) is only used as an optional "garnishment." So if you are looking for nutritious meatless meal ideas, there is a free Mediterranean cookbook download here and a variety of recipes on the Oldways website. For those of you who have a Kindle and are on Amazon Prime, the Lending Library has numerous free books about Mediterranean eating, including this one and this one. Just do a search on your Kindle and you will find many others.
For the past few years, I've been very concerned about the Christians living in the Holy Land, and especially in war-torn areas like Bethlehem. This year, we will use Lent to learn about the Franciscan Foundation of the Holy Land's projects in the area. We will then pick a project to donate to, and find various ways to raise money for the project -- whether it be by saving money on the food we buy (mom), selling some things we no longer need (mom/dad), donating some of our allowance (the kids), or doing extra chores to earn money (the kids).
Would love to hear about your plans; please share in the comment box!
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