Today is the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, and I am trying to "get in the mood." My thoughts keep drifting to having a new baby instead of reflecting on my sins and my need for God. Actually, I have been thinking much more about how my children can benefit from this forty days of fasting, abstinence and prayer. My eldest daughter is getting old enough to demonstrate proper prayer behavior and posture, so we have decided to work with her over these forty days. She must hold her body still, pray out loud with the family, and do what everyone else is doing at Mass on Sundays. If, and when, she reaches forty days, she may get her ears pierced, something she has been wanting.
Although I am most concerned with matters of her heart and her own relationship and commitment to Christ, my hope is that by helping her to quiet her body and truly participate in prayer, her heart will follow. Often it is the discipline of prayer that gets my own heart in the right place.
The Lenten discipline is an especially good time provided for us to return our hearts to the Lord. I personally plan to forgo sweets through this season and take up reading St. Teresa Lisieux's Story of a Soul. With the baby on the way, I know there will be many sacrifices to be had by all in the family. Life will be crazy for a while, but my hope is that these changes and sacrifices will draw us closer to one another and to God.
Here are some great links about Lent and Ash Wednesday:
Aggie Catholics: Annual Lenten Megapost A very informative link on the why and what of Lent.
CatholicCulture.org There are some great links on this site for things to do with the family.
Have a holy and blessed Lent.