|Lent can be a good time to reflect on the people
who mean the most to us and the relationships we hold most dear.
For those of us who live in industrialized countries, it can be jarring
to realize that our time together as a family might amount to no more
than a few minutes a day. Our lives are independent as we scatter
in different directions each day for work, school or childcare.
This season of reflection and renewal might be an appropriate time to pray about our family lives and how we can be more thoughtful and prayerful about Lent as a family.
Perhaps we could hold a family meeting over dinner or some other relaxed place. We could discuss Lent and the symbols of the season using the resources here. We might want to talk about how our faith life is not a journey we make alone, but one we are in as a community, as a family.
One Lenten family practice might include a daily act of love for our family. Can we look around and see some small thing that needs to be done to make our lives together better? Is there laundry to sort or dishes to be washed? Is there a floor that needs sweeping or a room that needs dusting? Just one effort by each of us each day can make a dramatic difference in sharing the workload in the family. The grace we are reaching for goes beyond getting the garbage taken out, for example. We know it is a grace when my experience of taking the garbage out, feels to me like an act of love, an act of solidarity as a family. Perhaps the simplest way to prepare for this grace is to pray:
Dear Lord, may this simple, ordinary sacrifice of my time for the sake of those I love, draw us closer together as a family whose hearts you are drawing to yourself in the togetherness of our family love.
One of the real graces of Lent has to do with forgiveness and reconciliation – mercy and healing. This is never simply a matter between Jesus and me. It always has something to do with my family and with my relationships – how we are with each other. What in us needs mercy and healing? What patterns that we have need our reflections and common family choices and actions this Lent?