Given the challenges facing today’s families, now is the perfect time and home is the perfect place to experience Lent. After all, home is where we rush and rest, we hope and worry, we love and forgive.
It is home where we most often experience day-to-day salvation. Lenten experiences can take place in nearly every room of the house.
Here are some ideas to try to enrich your celebration of Lent at home:
Designate one evening a week to prepare a meal together. Assign a different dish or task to each family member. Before starting, discuss how each family member is giving to the others — giving time, effort and care to nourish the entire family to go out and do God’s will. Begin with a prayer of thanks and petition.
Prominently display the Bible and other books that feature topics such as Lent, forgiveness, prayer, scripture, generosity, social justice and service for others. Invite family members to choose passages or books and discuss what you read.
Kindness and sharing
On slips of paper, write random acts of kindness, such as giving a compliment, saying hi to an old friend, carrying someone’s heavy load. Present each family member with a slip of paper as he or she leaves in the morning. Invite each to perform the kindness without seeking recognition. Afterward, talk together about what happened. Pray with one another that your kindnesses will be passed on throughout Lent and beyond.
Giving to charities
Ask each family member to find three to five high-quality, useful items that would be appreciated by those who are less fortunate. Donate the items to a favorite charity. Pray together for those who will receive them.
Fasting and abstinence
Since biblical times, fasting and abstinence have been considered appropriate expressions of repentance for sin. Fasting and abstaining from meat reminds us of our reliance on God, who is the source of all abundance and nourishment. As Catholics, we are encouraged to fast voluntarily and occasionally throughout the year to practice self-denial, to lead a life of moderation that deepens our compassion for people who are in need, and to develop a deeper hunger and thirst for God.