Saturday, February 02, 2008

Lenten Activities for Families

I know it's been almost three weeks since I put out my plea for Lenten activities for families, but it's been cold outside, which inevitably takes the little gray cells longer to warm up and requires multiple cups of tea and coffee for anything worthwhile to be produced.

But finally, we have our two family projects. They are service oriented twofold; first, we will be actively gathering food to serve the community through the parish food pantry and second, we will be making a concerted effort to serve one another within the walls of the Ark.

Our first project is a combination of two ideas--sacrifice and alms giving for Lent combined with a scriptural reflection on Jesus' love for us. With St. Valentine's Day falling about a week into Lent, a theme of LOVE was the perfect choice to decorate our collection box. One day after school last week, we grabbed one of the plethora of diaper boxes here and covered it in pink construction paper. Then, once I had the scripture verse written in Sharpie marker (with a reminder to not paste over the verse!), the kids set to cutting, coloring, decorating and embellishing the box. Everyone, including Mom and Dad, were pleased with their efforts. With the box completed, we had only to put our project into action. This meant that each and every time we went to the store for groceries (yes, even just those quick stops for milk, bread or apple juice--a staple food on the Ark) we had to put one RED food item in our box. It doesn't seem like much, but it is starting to add up quickly and we've only just begun. The box will grow fuller as we make our way closer to Easter Sunday and our appreciation of the many conveniences and blessings we have will definitely grow as well!

Second, my big question was how to "recycle" the Blessing Box used between Thanksgiving and Epiphany is now finally answered! Besides re-using the box, I also wanted to incorporate the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, which are the following:

Corporal Works of Mercy

Feed the Hungry
Give Drink to the Thirsty
Clothe the Naked
Welcome the Stranger
Visit the Sick and Imprisoned
Bury the Dead

Spiritual Works of Mercy

Counsel the Doubtful
Instruct the Ignorant
Admonish the Sinner
Comfort the Sorrowful
Bear Wrongs Patiently
Pray for the Living and the Dead

Both of these lists will hang on the wall next to our family prayer table as a constant reminder of what we are called by Jesus to do for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ (Matthew 25:40). Then, on the table, next to the Blessing Box, will be slips of paper for the children to write (with help if needed) how they are working to answer this call during Lent, with a focus on living out these works right here amidst our own family. Each night, our slips will be folded up and placed into the Blessing Box. At the end of Lent, we'll be counting all of our slips and for each one, Mom and Dad will contribute 25 cents to the box.

So, for example, if The Boy helps heal the broken-hearted Baby T, when one of his older-but not as of yet-wiser sisters *borrows* his favorite toy, he could write "Comfort the Sorrowful" on his slip of paper that night, thus adding 25 cents to our collection and learning (and modeling) the love of Christ besides.

I am hoping we won't have much of an opportunity to practice Burying the Dead, as the cats are all young and spry and we are minus any hamsters, fish or other high-turnover pets, but I think we'll have plenty of occasions to practice all the others.


Life in Fitzville said...

It's amazing with even your most thoughtful, insightful post, you still manage to crack me up!

What a beautiful idea!

Easter A. said...

Oh Jane, you are so funny! :-)