We are now halfway through the journey of Lent and may be finding ourselves falling short in our attempts to “grow deeper in holiness and please God, all the while growing closer as a family.” A great way to really connect our children to the reality of Lent is to show how other people handled their struggles and in particular, what the Saints did to fully give themselves to god through self sacrifice.
One can follow the Feast Days of the Saints which occur during Lent and turn to them for inspiration and guidance. On March 15th we celebrate the Feast day of Saint Louise de Marillac, who gave her life practicing one of the three component of Lenten sacrifice: alsmgiving.
She was canonized by Pope John XXIII as the patroness of social workers. March 18th honors Saint Cyril of Jerusalem who stood up against the Heresy of Arianism, was exiled, and later died to protect the faith. Reading about the Saints can help children to commiserate with them and to “grow deeper in holiness and please God, all the while growing closer as a family.”
Three different items that really target these goals are:
1. SAINTS AND FEAST DAYS
This convenient resource offers concise biographical sketches of saints from the Roman calendar and suggested activities for celebrating their feast days. The easy-to-read format makes finding a name or date simple and quick.
For use by teachers and students alike, it is ideal for parents or catechists working with small children, as a reference book for junior high and confirmation classes, or for those who simply enjoy reading more about the saints.
2. Heroes of Grace COMPENDIUM
The Primary Edition of this book is for Children grades 1-4. The brightly colored pages and corresponding illustrations draw attention to younger audiences while the short stories provide basic knowledge of Catholic concepts and the Saints.
The “In Depth Edition” is for Children grades 8-12. It contains more advanced iconic images and detailed information about the Saint’s life, Catholic Virtue, and Liturgical Season. This book would also make a great guide for confirmation.
Each book can be used at home as a supplemental, activity, or Religion book or can be easily implemented as Daily, Weekly, and/or Monthly “Program Insert(s) for CCD, Catholic School and Parish Adult ED on Saints, Virtues, and Liturgical Events designed each year for the current Calendar:”-Carol Anne Jones
The Hero’s of Grace COMPENDIUM books also include a section for each liturgical season in the year, including “Lent & the Meaning of Sacrifice”, a section for each of the nine “Catholic Virtues”, and a section for each of the Gifts of the “Holy Spirit.”
3. Glory Stories Audio CDs:
Allow your children to be inspired by these stories of the lives of the saints. Watch as your children’s imaginations are captured as they listen to these professionally produced dramatizations. The Glory Stories tell the true stories of the lives of holy people of God and are catechetical and entertaining (to both children and adults)! This set of 12 Audio CD’s contains the stories of 20 saints including: St. Joseph and St. Katharine Drexel, who’s feast day’s are coming up soon, in the next few weeks of Lent.
Spending some time talking to my mother about her homeschooling experiences we came to the topic of “time”, and how there never seems to be enough of it. She recalls that “Audio Books” were her life saver because despite her efforts to get genuine “sit -down” classroom time, much of the day was spent playing “Taxi Mom”.
“We have to drive our kids to soccer practice, ballet, music lessons, French tutoring, etc. and at the end of the day we are dead tired. I know we have all had those moments where we try to guide our children through their Saxon Math book Lesson 34 and still keep our eyes on the road. Being a mother is a struggle no matter which road you decide to take- we decided to take the homeschooling route because the results are so much better…
The Glory Story CD’s are great because you can just pop one in the car and drive the kids to where-ever their next stop is without wasting time. You can utilize that time spent in the car as a Religion and History lesson. And the best thing is when you begin to notice something weird going on in the car…..its actually quiet! “The kids get so focused on the story that they stop chattering for a moment and my brain could get some peace and quiet.” Terry S. Forrester
These audio CD’s are a great way to not only get your children to follow the saints, but to get the saints to follow your children- right inside the car. And connecting with, understanding, and getting to know the lives of the saints can help your child to form a deeper appreciation for the tradition of Lent. Lent provides your child the prime opportunity emulate the lives of the saints: to give up worldly pleasures, to preform acts of charity, and talk to God on a regular basis.
Each of these different items makes a great addition to your child’s education and enriches your family’s celebration of Lent.