I write this on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, but you won’t be reading it for several days yet. I cannot imagine what the world will look like even in that short time span, so perhaps my words are dated by the time you read this. Even so, I will share with you two ideas we are implementing as laypeople to encourage prayer and community.
This Lent has become strange for us all due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some of us are frightened. Many are feeling restless. All of us are uncertain about the future. But I am certain most of us are praying diligently.
Normally, by the time Lent starts, I have a clear idea of the sacrifices I will observe and the prayer practices I will adopt. This year, for some reason, I drew a blank as Lent approached.
While some of our physical offices around the globe may be closed, we are working remotely to continue our efforts to provide you with daily prayer materials, plus plenty of content to encourage, educate, and inspire you and your family. Check out what the Holy Cross Family Ministries family has to share with your family right now!
In just a few weeks we have moved from people being divided over the seriousness of the coronavirus to accepting that it is a confirmed pandemic. Our Church is being impacted directly, with significant changes in how we celebrate Mass during this Lenten season.
Better Lent than never. Or something like that. I’m so far behind I’m starting to get frazzled. Case in point: our Lent Tree. Or I should say, the absence of our Lent Tree. Because even with the ashes on our foreheads already smudged into oblivion, I still hadn’t gotten around to making it. For the Lent Tree I paint a bare-branched tree to put up on the wall next to a basket of paper leaves and a glue stick. Then throughout Lent when a good deed is done, the good-deed-doer glues a leaf on the tree. So what begins as a bare winter tree becomes festooned with a profusion of glorious green foliage by Easter (hopefully, if we’ve been good-deed-doer-gluers) as the Lent Tree passes from stark winter to verdant spring. My lack of progress on the Lent crafting was partly due to my Vision of Grandeur. I dreamt of creating the most perfect Lent Tree ever beheld by the wide and wonder-filled eyes of man (or at least by my children), the memory of which would be handed down in family lore from generation to generation. The result was that I found myself bound by tight chains of aspiration which constricted me into total inactivity. It would take hours, I speculated, maybe days, to create The Perfect Lent Tree. And as hours and days are scarce of late, I wound up doing nothing. In stepped my mom (a mother of eight who knows all about the scarcity of time resources). “You can still do it,” she told me, “we haven’t had a full week of Lent yet.” (She can also find a positive spin on just about any situation, she’s a world class champion of the Pollyanna game — as a mother of eight she’s had lots of practice in looking for bright sides). “But,” she warned me, “you better do it soon. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be.”