I am enjoying learning about Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima. On the old calendar, these Sundays served "as a time of transition for the soul, which must pass from Christmas joys...to the stern penance of the sacred forty days of Lent." (Around the Year with the Trapp Family, p. 101) Maria Trapp offers the following advice about "Little Lent":
I am thankful for the time that I am being given to prepare myself and my family for Lent.In these weeks of the pre-Lenten season, the mother of the family has much to teach her children. She will introduce them to the meaning of the color of violet in church. She will prepare them for the forty sacred days of retreat, and will help them to formulate their Lenten resolutions, which should be written on a sheet of paper and placed on the house altar. It is important that Lenten resolutions do not use the negative approach only, such as, "I won't do this" and "I won't do that." They should start positively, with "I will use these three books" (this as soon as the child can read); "I will use the time I save by abstaining from television for this and this...." "I will use the money I save by not going to the movies for alms given to...."It is a precious time, a time for the mother to introduce her children to the three ancient good works -- prayer, fasting, and giving of alms -- with which we can atone for our sins. It will take root in young hearts never to be forgotten. (p. 102)
What are we doing?
We hung our Stations of the Cross.
We are looking for our violet cloth to put in our prayer area (I misplaced it after Advent and might need to make another one).
I have our Divine Mercy CD ready. The children and I say the Divine Mercy Chaplet each day during Lent.
I need to buy toothpicks for our crown of thorns. On Ash Wednesday, my family and I place toothpicks in a grapevine wreath, purchased from Joann Fabrics, in order to make Christ’s Crown of Thorns (the number of toothpicks is determined by the number of children in our family multiplied by 40 and can be painted brown) . The Crown of Thorns is placed in the center of our dining room table. During dinner, the children tell us of a good deed or of something they have offered up for Christ and then they pull a thorn (toothpick) out of the crown and place it in a glass dish that is located on the table. On Easter morning, the children find the crown decorated with beads, flowers, or Easter eggs (we have done all three over the past ten years) and the glass bowl full of Easter eggs. Our children really enjoy seeing how they can transform Christ’s Crown of Thorns into a true crown.
I have decided on my Lenten reading. This year, I will reread I Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux and The Little Way of the Infant Jesus.
I have been thinking about Lenten resolutions and have mentioned to the children that they should be doing the same.
I am debating whether to use My Path to Heaven: A Young Person's Guide to the Faith with the children or simply have them read it. I am thinking about what other books I can recommend to the children during Lent (suggestions are welcome).