|Lenten guide for children/curious readers|
|Written by OHmommy|
|Wednesday, 09 March 2011 10:01|
In my past life I was a renowned anthropologist studying the world. Which is why I find reading blogs so interesting. People fascinate me. A topic I love exploring is religion and when people write about their faiths I eat up every word out of curiosity. Two of most favorite blogging series are Metalia's Ask A Jew! and Casey's Mormon posts. With their spiritual confidence I am offering an amateur explanation of Catholicism's most important seasons. Lent.
What is Lent?
Lent is the season of preparation for Easter. It starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter. It lasts for 40 days (not including Sundays) in which Christians prepare for Easter by fasting and spiritual discipline - all for setting aside time to reflect on His sacrifices. Basically, Lent is a time for "spring cleaning" our lives while giving thanks to God.
What is Ash Wednesday?
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Although not a Holy Day of Obligation, the faithful go to church to receive a sign of the cross on their foreheads from ashes (ashes from the blessed palms used on Palm Sunday). This is a reminder of our mortality and a call for repentance. The priest blesses the ashes and says "Remember, man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return" and the message for the day, in so many words, is "Pray like no one is watching you. Fast like no one is watching you. Do good like no one is watching you. God knows". (The sermon makes this blog post totally hypocritical but I've had trouble explaining Lent to my children and hopefully it will help others with young kids)
Lent with kids.
Kids have a hard time understanding Lent. One way of explaining Lent is that it's a time to bring us closer to God. In our busy lives we fill our selves with candy, buy toys, play video games and watch television which makes us happy but that happiness is temporary. During Lent we stop filling our lives up with temporary happiness and make more room for God. Adults usually give up something important to them for the 40 days of Lent.
Activities during Lent.
There are many things you can do during Lent. The "Jelly Bean Prayer" for children is a sweet way of teaching children about Lent. Using various colors of jelly beans to describe a virtue, children are given a jelly bean for each good deed collecting them up until Easter.
Red for the blood of Christ (a sacrifice).
Green for shade of the palm (doing a good deed).
Yellow for God's light (kindness to others).
Orange for prayers at twilight (good behavior at bed time prayer).
Purple for days of sorrow (apologizing to someone).
Pink for each new tomorrow (forgiving others).
Starting on Ash Wednesday, begin rewarding your kids with a jelly bean of the appropriate color each time they do something that corresponds with one of these acts. On Easter, allow the children to receive all the jelly beans they have earned. Credit.
What is Easter?
Easter is the most important religious feast of the Christian year celebrating the re-birth of Jesus.
I am not an expert; but, I am a devout Catholic. I do feel a little hypocritical preaching to you about my faith after hearing the Ash Wednesday reading "Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven." but fingers crossed and a couple of Hail Marys that it will help one person today either learn something new or explain Lent to their children. Perhaps I'm still feeling guilty for my truancy this week at PSR. Sorry Sister Judy.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 March 2011 13:40|