Thoughts on Lent - In Three Parts

A. Moi:

Lent is always a special and difficult liturgical season. Special because it was the first Friday of Lent 2005 that Lee and I set eyes on each other (and it wasn't love it for sight) and now we get to share the church service - Presanctified Liturgy - with our kids - cra-zeee. Special because we are preparing our minds, hearts and souls for the Death and Resurrection of our Lord. Difficult because we have three days a week at church, with 4 ex-utero children, 2 services in the evening - RIGHT at dinner/bedtime so dicey is an excellent description of how Lenten PSL and Stations of the Cross goes. Difficult because we are juggling (what seems like) a million 'other things' that church takes precedence over - which is fine but stripping ourselves (our family) of worldly cares/commitments is no easy task.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Advent is easier for us with the kids. One weekly activity. One daily Jesse Tree reading. It is more visible. Lent is hard because to small children it just seems like we are in church ALL THE TIME. Not that they are super whiny about it (A is a mess though - but nothing more can be expected of a 17-month-old). There is usually food involved so there maybe griping and some 8-o'clock homework doing but we have a Lenten groove. It is just a matter of pushing the 'other stuff' aside and buckling down and committing to sacrificing our time (and sanity) so that we can allow ourselves to be changed.

This part of PSL has really spoken to me this year:

Priest: Let my prayer ascend to You like incense, and the lifting up of my hands like an evening sacrifice.
People: Let my prayer ascend to You like incense, and the lifting up of my hands like an evening sacrifice.
Priest: 0 Lord, I have cried to You, now hear me; listen to my voice when I call upon You.
People: Let my prayer ascend to You like incense, and the lifting up of my hands like an evening sacrifice.
Priest: 0 Lord, set a guard before my mouth, and set a seal on the door of my lips. 
People: Let my prayer ascend to You like incense, and the lifting up of my hands like an evening sacrifice.
Priest: Let not my heart be inclined to evil, nor make excuse for the sins I commit. 
People: Let my prayer ascend to You like incense, and the lifting up of my hands like an evening sacrifice.
Priest: Let my prayer ascend to You like incense:
People: And the lifting up of my hands like an evening sacrifice.

This is a back and forth prayer between the priest and the people. As my hands tend to be quite full during church I'm trying to focus my prayer on the work of my hands - the work of raising children to be Godly men and women (adulthood is a long way off but we like to start them early). I've blogged about my hands taking a break in church here

But I mean how great is the rest of this prayer (taken from the Psalms) - Set a guard before my mouth - staying away from gossip? Yep that is always necessary. Nor make excuse for the sins I commit - nothing else needs to be said in that department. 

So in the heat of dealing with a screaming A or a distracted M or whatever - this Lent I chose my actions to be my sacrifice and with that in mind it is (slightly) easier to be more patient and compassionate with them since our Lord is fully of patience and compassion for us.

B. E

E has always been a little wise beyond her years so when we had this conversation I wasn't surprised but was definitely cause for reflection. 

My all time favorite prayer is this:

Lord and Master of my life spare me from the spirit of indifference, despair, lust for power and idle chatter

Instead bestow on me your servant the spirit of integrity, humility, patience and love

Yes O Lord and King, let me see my own sins and not judge my brothers and sisters for you are blessed unto ages of ages. Amen

Obviously it can be said any time of the year but it is recited during PSL and we add it to our nightly family prayers during Lent. 

So E and I were having a chat about humility and what that means and how if we pray for humility we need to try and remember that and put it into action. 

Me - So if you saying this prayer and asking God for help, it is important to practice what you are praying.

E - So is this prayer helping you? 

Way to turn the tables there on me E. I hope this prayer is especially helping me with idle chatter and patience (and compassion - because I find P&C to be necessary and hard to come by parts of parenting)

C. R & M's conversation

This is way more light than the first two and not necessarily Lenten but it happened during Lent and I think it is hilarious and try and highlights a 5 yr old perspective

While discussing the merits of moving into different classes for the next school year:

R - Well I'm going to go to Kindergarten
M - Well I want to stay in Mrs. Debbie's class
R - Don't you want to learn.
M - No!
R - Don't you want to learn about Jesus?
M - NO!
R - Well, you'll go right to hell then.

I was dying laughing in the front seat listening to this transpire. Hopefully you will enjoy the truth and humor. Happy Wednesday!

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