Lent is forty days of reflection, sacrifice, and spiritual growth for Catholics all over the world. In this crescendo to Easter Sunday, the universal Catholic family has an opportunity to focus on their relationship with God. Lent is also time for individual families to grow closer to God with support from each other. Find our top tips for elevating your family Lent below!
How To Live Lent Well as a Family:
Give Up Something Together
Everyone knows about giving something up for Lent, but have you ever given it a team effort? The key to giving something up for Lent is to choose it freely, so it can be difficult to make a group sacrifice for Lent. However, if you have a family tradition of going to the movies once a month or having dessert after dinner once or twice a week, try to agree on a challenge for the entire family. This small difference will build family solidarity throughout Lent. Together, your family will experience what it means to deny yourselves and to put God first. You will also learn to appreciate the things you have and be grateful for your blessings.
Pick Prayer Intentions Together
When you discuss penance with your family, emphasize the fruits of giving up good things for Lent by linking your Lenten plans to specific intentions. If someone in your family is having a tough time at school, suggest they do their homework right when they get back from school and offer it up as a sacrifice for their teachers. If a family member’s friend is sick or in need, suggest giving up sweets for that person.
Attaching personalized, meaningful intentions to each prayer and sacrifice throughout Lent will help everyone in your family better understand the beauty of giving up good things.
Reflect on Sacred Art
Sacred art has instructed and inspired Catholics for centuries. If your family can get to a museum that exhibits Christian art, take a field trip! If you can’t access a museum, simply visit a local church or contemplate images of religious art in books or online.
Reflection on sacred art is fuel for understanding the stories of Christ and bringing the lives of the saints to life. It will enrich your family’s faith in these 40 days.
Attend Daily Mass Together
Does your family have the option of attending daily Mass together, even one day each week? Attending Mass together is a wonderful way to start Lent and to set the tone for the day in just thirty minutes. It's a chance to gather as a family and to pray together, to receive the Eucharist, and to reflect on God's love and mercy. This is also a chance to teach children about the importance of the Mass and how it can be a source of spiritual strength. It sets an example of making time for prayer on days besides Sunday.
Start a Family Prayer Time
Your family could start a daily prayer time during Lent, coming together to reflect on God's presence in your lives. This might be a time to say the Rosary, to read the Bible, or to simply spend time in quiet reflection. By praying together, families can deepen their faith and strengthen their relationship with God. They can also learn to rely on Him in all things and to trust in His love and mercy.
This list could go on and on! Lent is a time of spiritual renewal and growth, and Catholic families have a unique ability to live it together. Whether you attend daily Mass together once a week or blaze your own trail with special Lenten acts of service, you will be strengthening your family foundations this Lent.