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Header - Family Tip 15 - Thoughts for Lent

 

“The important thing is to teach the child who he is, who God is,
and how God wants to mingle His life with his by coming to dwell in him.”

Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.

 

Lent: the 40-day period of preparation for the Death and the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here Holy Mother Church gives each of us time to follow in the footsteps of Our Divine Savior in a special way. At other times, we are called to imitate joy, expectation, diligence and perseverance. In Lent, it is self-discipline, self-control, prayer, penance, fasting and almsgiving that help us to curb our innate selfish tendencies and raise our hearts, our minds and our souls to God.

What better gift can we give to children?

Let us a take a moment this Lent to consider a few things that we can do to help “the little ones come unto” Him.

 

Benefits:

  • Lent helps the acquisition of good habits and the practice of virtue.
  • Prayer raises the heart and mind of a child to God.
  • Prayer obtains the graces necessary for a virtuous life leading to sanctification and salvation.
  • Penance will curb the effects of Original Sin such as selfishness, intemperance and pride.
  • Fasting, in particular, helps a child to gain mastery over their tendencies, desires and inclinations.
  • Self-Control which is one of the fundamental elements of virtue, it is obtained through penance and fasting.
  • Almsgiving teaches us to help those less fortunate than we are. It teaches us to be grateful for what we have received. It helps children to understand the difference between needs and wants.
  • Almsgiving also curbs selfishness by inviting the child to think of others and the needs of others.

 

Tips to help children with the 3 great Lenten practices:

Thoughts for LentPrayer is when we talk to God. Help a child do this by setting up the resolution to pray with him/her every day. It can be as simple as a Hail Mary, one decade of the Holy Rosary, or a whole Rosary depending on the child’s age and attention capacity.

Spend time with the child in front of Our Divine Savior truly present in the Blessed Sacrament on the altar. On your way to the shopping center or to a play-date for your child, take 5 minutes to greet or bow to Our Lord. This might not seem like much, but it instills in the child the importance of God as the center of life.

 

Penance and Fasting. To instill the practice of penance, simple things will do. Giving up something the child really likes and enjoys like a specific toy, is a good practice in learning penance for a child. It is important that the adult guide the child in this. Perhaps it is best for the child to start giving something one-day-at-a-time and renewing the resolution and the reasons for it each day. This helps the child learn and remember the importance of penance and the reasons it is necessary.

Fasting can take the form of giving up the last bite of a delicious dessert or the entire dessert. It can also be giving up a TV show or a certain game. Fasting can also be doing something we don’t want to do. For example, I really want to just relax and do nothing, but I go and spend time with someone who is alone. In this case, I fast from my own desires and wants. The key to these practices is doing them together with the child so that you lead by word and example.

 

Almsgiving can be done through the Church or in person. Help your child to drop an alms for the poor in the poorbox at your local Church. You can also provide the opportunity to help someone who is in need. For example, if you know someone who is elderly and poor, take your child with you to go and prepare them a meal and spend time with them. The alms being given is your effort and your time. Thus, it helps the child learn that alms can be given in many ways, not just financially.

It is commonly said that it takes 23 – 31 days to form a good habit. Holy Mother Church, in her wisdom, gives us a wonderful opportunity in Lent to do just that, with a few days for consolidation.

It is an excellent time to help that child that you love so much to grow in virtue and in grace. It is the time in which you can help that little one form habits that help them become true disciples of Jesus Christ and true devotees of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In essence, it gives them the tools and the means to walk in the best way possible the path toward our Heavenly Home!

 

One last thought: We all understand that a young person needs to go study for whatever it is that they wish to do or be in life. A doctor, a nurse, a teacher, a priest, a business consultant and so on. In the same way, religion, Christian piety, good habits and virtue also need teaching and the BEST University to learn in is the home; and the best teachers are mom and dad. For this did the Creator entrusted his little ones to you.

 


 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for January 21, 2021

All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easy-going...

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January 21

 

All the strength of Satan’s reign
is due to
the easy-going weakness of Catholics.


Pope St. Pius X


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Agnes

Even pagans were moved to tears at the sight of the radiant...

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St. Agnes

Agnes was born around 291 in a Christian, patrician family of Rome, and suffered martyrdom in the terrible persecution of Diocletian.

As a young maiden, she pledged herself to Christ and defended her virginity to the death.

Exceptionally beautiful, she turned down numerous suitors, but when she refused Procop, the Prefect’s own son, things became very complicated. Procop tried to win Agnes with gifts and promises but she answered: “I’m already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!”

Angered, Procop  took  the maiden before his father, and accused her of being a Christian. The Prefect tried to turn her from her Faith first by cajolements, and then by placing her in chains, but she only rejoiced.

The pagan official, set on overcoming Agnes by any means, next had her taken to a house of prostitution but she was visibly protected by an angel.

Finally, Agnes was condemned to death, but she was happy as a bride about to meet her bridegroom. Even pagan bystanders were moved to tears at the sight of the radiant maiden going to her death, and begged her to relent, to which she retorted: “If I were to try to please you, I would offend my Spouse. He chose me first and He shall have me!” Then praying, she offered her neck for the death stroke.

St. Agnes is one of seven women besides the Blessed Virgin to be mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. She is the patron of chastity, young girls, engaged couples, rape victims and virgins. She is depicted holding a lamb as her name in Latin means “lamb”, “agnus”. But the name “Agnes” is actually taken from the Greek “hagne” meaning chaste, pure, sacred.

Agnes’ relics repose beneath the high altar of the Church of Sant’Agnese Fuori le mura, built upon the place she was originally buried. This church was built in her honor by the daughter of the Emperor Constantine, and is one of the oldest in Rome.  St. Agnes’ skull is in the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone at Piazza Navona.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him h...

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Mary and the Muslim

Don Octavio del Monaco was a wealthy citizen of 17th century Naples. Like many of his class, Don Octavius had several Muslim slaves in his household. These children of Islam were amazed at the kindness of their “master.” He fed and clothed them better than they received in their native land. In return, his slaves attended to their tasks with diligence, as Don Octavius did not over work them, but assigned them duties in keeping with their dignity as children of God.

If these Muslim slaves had any reason for complaint, it was the gentle persistence with which their master and his wife exhorted them to give up their false religion and become Catholics. Don Octavius even went so far as to invite the slaves to join his family in the chapel to worship the one true God with them!

Our story today is about one young slave in particular. His name was Abel, like the slain son of Adam and Eve. He felt drawn in a peculiar way to a lamp that burned in front of a shrine to Holy Mary. Abel would purchase the oil needed to keep the lamp lit from his own meager stipend. As he continued to practice this humble devotion, he would say, “I hope that this Lady will grant me some great favor.”

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian. At first the Turk resisted. But she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and said to him: “Now no longer resist, Abel, but be baptized and called Joseph,” conferring on him a name that was very dear to her Immaculate Heart indeed.

On August the 10th, 1648, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, for on that day “Joseph” and eleven other Muslims converted to the Christian faith and were baptized. Their conversion was brought about by the kindness shown by Don Octavius and the special intercession of the Mother of God.

Our story does not end here. Even once this son of hers was safely baptized, Mother Mary delighted in visiting him. Once, after having appeared to him, she was about to depart. But the Moor seized her mantle, saying, “Oh, Lady, when I find myself afflicted, I pray you to let me see you.” In fact, she one day promised him this and when Joseph found himself afflicted he invoked her, and Mary appeared to him again saying, “Have patience", and he was consoled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.

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