We had a lovely Mass as always, at St. Boniface this morning. Fr. Tim was praying the preface to the Eucharistic prayer (I think that’s where we were, but you know me…) Dang if I can’t remember the entire text, but it was “…something, something, and when we lost our way to You, You loved us even more.”
OK, just try to tell me something nicer.
There are lots of thoughtful treatments of how to approach Lent with our kids – check out Leila at Like Mother Like Daughter. She is a jewel and has strong insights, both spiritual and practical. bearingblog also put a call out, with help from Jen at Conversion Diary, for discussion – some good comments there as well.
For once in our lives, we prepped for Lent before Ash Wednesday. Yeah, I know…once every 25 years we get it right around here. We have 3 generations of kids, sort of, which requires different approaches of course.
Our little kids, ages 5, 8 and 9 are at that wonderful eager sponge-like stage. We began with the idea of “What’s up?” Why did Jesus go to the desert for 40 days and nights? So He could pray a lot and get spiritually stronger, like if He was training for the State Football Final. (Pardon the comparison, but our big boys have gone to the State Final the last two years, so these little kids know that is one big challenge.) Except this was for His soul, we said. What if your very best friend was in the desert going through this hard time, what would you do? Would you say “Bummer about you being hungry and thirsty and lonely. Good luck, we’re going to DQ for a Blizzard.”? (speaketh the 9 year old)
Mary must have known Jesus was in the desert all that time. Bet she stayed quiet and prayed a lot, we thought, keeping her mind on Him all the time, hoping He knew she was with Him, and wasn’t alone.
We began thinking about how hard Jesus was “working” to get ready to give His life for us. We want to be a friend to Jesus and let Him know we would stay with Him in the desert if we could, the kids said. Once we got to this point, they responded with their own ideas.
They figured that they would be able to remember Jesus and be closer to Him if they stayed away from the XBox. If we didn’t eat extra stuff. If we tried to act more kindly toward each other. The kids felt they could “help Jesus feel less lonely” if He knew they were trying hard to be good.
Being able to comfort Jesus by leaving behind our “not-so-nice” ways was a concept they took to right away in this context. A more heavily penitential, getting-spiritually-ripped concept is one we’ll save for the big boys.
So, that’s how things got rolling with the little ones. Piece of cake.
Rice cake, of course.
A good time as any to quote Leila at Like Mother Like Daughter
“Don’t expect observable results right away, in fact get used to plowing ahead with your simple vision, seeing no outcome whatsoever.”
Next stop, the teenagers.