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Years ago, my sister and I were discussing Lenten observances. Our kids were young, and we were contemplating how we could help our kids (who were very young at the time) spiritually. Praying for them daily was wonderful, of course. However, we wanted to do something that would ensure that they would be covered in prayer their entire lives. It was then that she brought up a suggestion that would change my life, both during Lent and every day of the year.
Her suggestion wowed me with its simplicity and awed me in its demonstration of true love. Her idea was this:
Make the decision to offer something up for my children - not only for Lent, but every day for the rest of my life.
Wow!! What a concept!!
Yes, it would be tough, but that's why I loved it - it would be a beautiful, tangible expression of my love for them. Under the radar, I would be able to daily offer myself in prayer for my children knowing that God Himself would be applying the graces forward.
And the possibilities! It took days to come up with something that I felt would be challenging yet possible no matter my state in life. (To remain incognito, I won't be able to reveal my specific sacrifice since my kids sometimes read my posts.)
Some ideas, however, could be giving up a certain food, waking up during the night to recite a specific prayer, choosing to withhold from eating during the night or a specific time of day, etc.
Just as important to choosing my sacrifice was deciding exactly how I wanted to graces to be applied. After much thought, I decided to keep the decision fairly open to God's loving hand, only requesting that it would be offered up for the souls of each of my children and their future spouses and for extra strength and grace to stay the course on their journeys toward heaven.
Incredibly, although I have struggled with being consistent in fasting and sacrifice all of my life, I can honestly say (with and only with the help of God's grace!), that I have never succumbed to the temptation of this particular one for my children. The ability to maintain it has been a huge gift from God and one that has surprised me with its fruits.
One particular bonus reveals itself on those days when I feel that I have not done a very good job in being a mom. At the moment when I am offering my sacrifice, I sigh with relief, knowing that at least I have done one good thing for their souls that day!
For those who wish they could do more for their loved ones, or even would like to devote a life-long sacrifice to a specific cause, like the poor, this Spirit-led suggestion might be your answer. I can assure you, it is truly a gift that keeps on giving.
May God continue to use those around us to guide us towards a more intimate communion with Him, our families and the Body of Christ!
Photo attribution: https://www.pexels.com/photo/sunset-hands-love-woman-5390/ Common Domain
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Prepare Ye the Way
Here are some beautiful songs just for Advent!
If a song's title includes (family recording), please refer to the blog entry on 3/8/16 for info...
Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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