So, just what do you do when you feel Christ Crucified is looking you in the eyes, asking you to love Him selflessly?
The answer is pretty obvious — you love Him, especially during the sacred season of Lent. Lent is a call to each one of us, and to our homeschooling families, to respond to the thirst that Jesus has for each of our souls, and the souls of those around us.
Through a commitment to Lenten devotions and practices, as well as to “offering things up,” we can respond to this divine call generously, allowing God to shower our domestic churches with supernatural grace.
Do the Right Thing. Feel Great.
A few months after I became Catholic, I was doing mission work with Mother Teresa’s Sisters, and I was taken aback by something one of the volunteers said.
She was a 19-year-old kid with somewhat of a sassy attitude, and she really surprised me when she gave an impressive speech on what “offering things up” is all about.
She said something like, “Yeah, when you make a sacrifice, or really annoying or bad things happen, you just ‘offer it up’ and then you know you did the right thing and it makes you feel great.”
As a former Protestant, I had never heard such an idea before in my life. I had never realized that the sacrifices and sufferings I endured in life could have a redemptive purpose. How stellar!
Now that I am a homeschooling Mom, this realization comes in incredibly handy on a moment-to-moment basis (and I’m sure those who are reading this know what I mean).
As Mary Reed Newland writes in The Year and Our Children, “The Church is a wise mother, who knows that the cutting away of self-will frees our souls for a more radiant love affair with Christ.
If we think of penance without pondering its effect, we misunderstand it. It is not over and done with the doing, but will bear fruit, if it is done with the right spirit; not alone by the piling up of the ‘treasure in Heaven’ but by an increase in our taste for God, a change in the habits of our souls.”
5 Lent Ideas to Respond to Christ
As we live the Lenten Season with our families this year, there are many ways to respond to Christ Crucified with willing hearts, such as:
- Teaching our children to do their schoolwork in union with Jesus. We can encourage them to complete their assignments with greater diligence and care, entrusting their talents to their Creator.
- “Purifying” our homeschools. Are we using materials that are not helping us reach our spiritual or academic goals? Is our school day permeated with a spirit of joy and prayer? If not, what can help?
- Praying the Stations of the Cross daily with our children. The beauty of homeschooling is that our children are with us all day, and we are free to pray a short or long version of the Stations with them somewhere in the cracks of our day. Maybe we can pray the Stations during “recess” time, or with the extra time we have from fasting more and cooking less. I keep several different versions of the Stations in my home, with a copy for each child, to make the devotion more interesting for them.
- Creating Lenten crafts. Illuminated Ink sells a lovely Stations of the Cross craft kit that is perfect to do during Lent. It takes a long time to complete, but it teaches patience in loving Our Lord — one Station at a time.
- Frequenting the sacraments. During Lent, Christ Crucified calls us to savor the gift of the sacraments more than ever before, and increase our devotion to them with daring fervor. Mary Reed Newland says, “Happily we have renewal in the sacraments after we have sinned — sacraments Christ gave His Church as a bridegroom gives wedding jewels to His bride. These are splendid refreshments for His members, fountains gushing forth from the open side of Man who is God and our brother. Lent is our time to ponder these things, from the very beginning in sin to the renewal in Baptism. The Church says to us, ‘Look — you are dust. See what it has cost Him to love you!’”
Jesus, our King, we pray that our homeschools will be purified and strengthened this Lent. Fill us with serenity and unite us to the courage of your Holy Cross.
We crown you as Lord of all we do! Make our Lent extraordinary!