“The season of Lent during this Jubilee Year should also be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy.” – Pope Francis.
Pope Francis has made relating Jesus’ teachings on mercy one of his top priorities. Combining the wisdom and humility of Pope Francis with prayers from Fr. Warren J. Savage, the book Living Lent With Mercy will touch your heart, prompt deep reflection and spark a desire to grow closer to the Lord, one day at a time.48 pages, (PF4) $1.49
While Lent may feel like it is only about our regrets, sufferings, and disappointments, Pope Francis tells us Lent means much more in his book Lent and Easter Wisdom from Pope Francis. Reflect on the powerful words of Pope Francis, and the accompanying Scripture, prayer, and actions every day of the Lenten and Easter season. Make the journey from suffering toward the healing and transformation found in the Resurrection. (G2968)128-page paperback $11.99
Pope Francis’ booklet Living Lent with Passion (PF2) is a also starting point for prayer. Each day includes a suggested Scripture reading, most often from the day’s Mass. (PF2) 48 pages softcover, $1.95 www.printeryhouse.org
“But He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins; upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the Lord laid upon Him the guilt of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)
Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of the season of Lent, a season of penance, prayer, and reflection. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. This is beautifully expressed in Psalm 51:
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your merciful love,
according to your great compassion,
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me completely from my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
Not by Bread Alone
It is only a matter of weeks until Easter and the celebration of the Lent season begins this week with Ash Wednesday. How do you celebrate the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday with your family? Do you want to take the time with your family for a season of preparation for the glorious remembrance of Jesus’ resurrection but you are just not sure how to do it? Here are a few ways that you can truly enter into a time of worship and preparation with your family during this special time of the year.
1. Be devoted to prayer
Prayer should be part of every Christian’s daily life, but it often gets pushed aside in the rush of the day. During the prelude to Easter, be consistent about making time for extra attention to this spiritual discipline. Make it a family event each morning or evening.
You can pray for God to reveal Himself to each family member in new ways this season. You can thank Him for His plan of salvation. You can pray for the extension of His kingdom into all the world.
2. Begin a bible or devotional reading time
If you have never developed the discipline of daily bible reading Lent is a great time to make the effort. Family bible reading doesn’t have to be long and drawn out. You could read together through one of the gospels between now and Good Friday. Families could also make use of one of the many devotionals written specifically for the Lenten season.
At The Printery House we offer simple devotions that include a scripture passage along with a printed reflection or modern application. These devotionals are brief and easy to incorporate into the busy lives of families. More robust devotionals like the one based on the writings of St Augustine could be adapted for family use. This devotional pairs readings, reflections, and prayers along with recommended daily actions.
3. Be involved in service
Jesus came not to be served, but to serve and this should be a hallmark of His followers as well. Think of things you could do as a family to serve someone else – bake goodies for a neighbor, write a letter to a missionary, visit a shut-in or spend an afternoon volunteering at a food pantry or homeless shelter.
4. Learn an Easter hymn
The church has beautiful music written especially in celebration of Easter. Prepare your children to take joyful part in the Easter service by teaching them at least one traditional Easter hymn during Lent.
5. Make a sacrifice
Lent is preparation for celebrating Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, so making personal sacrifices has long been part of Lenten observance. A Lenten sacrifice is more than finally giving up a bad or sinful habit. The sacrifices of Lent should be about forgoing something that is permissible and pleasurable as a way of remembering the sacrifice that Jesus made when He left heaven to endure earthly suffering on our behalf.
This Easter could be the most meaningful you and your family have ever enjoyed. Choose one or several ways to mark the season of Lent and see what spiritual benefits you can reap together. Visit us at The Printery House for Lenten devotionals and other items to help aid you in family worship.