In light of the first issue of Home Faith magazine, published by the SJEC and due out in parishes this March, I thought I would say a few things about the importance of spending quality time with family members during Lent. Let’s face it, in today’s fast-paced world, having quality time with others can be a real struggle, a real sacrifice. In light of this fact, Lent, a season of sacrifice and reflection, is the perfect time to circle the wagons and draw near to one another, to reconnect and to be renewed.
To get the most out of your family time this Lent, I offer the following suggestions:
1. Compare schedules, mark a time each day/week to gather as a family and commit to it! If we can’t make a simple commitment like this to each other, how can we expect to commit ourselves to God?
2. Take turns reviewing the good, the bad, and the ugly of your day/week. In doing so, give thanks to God for the good moments, ask for God’s help and forgiveness for the bad ones and patience for when things get downright ugly.
3. Take stock of what you are thankful for . . . seriously, write these things down! This is especially helpful for the times we find ourselves drifting through Mass on Sunday. Mass is a time of thanksgiving, a time when God and we express our gratitude to each other. Bring your list of “thanksgivings” to Mass, reflect on them, as a family, after communion. Don’t just sit together. Pray together!
4. Take turns praying from the heart. There is no better way to end your quality time together than with prayer. Prayer from the heart is exceptionally powerful, as we express faith in our own words which, in turn, confirms and strengthens us and those around us. If you struggle with personal prayer, I offer the following prayer which can be found on the back cover of Home Faith magazine:
May our family, today, work together in your name to love, to forgive, to listen, to share, to wait, and to celebrate. For we are blessed beyond all knowing. Help us to rejoice, today, in the gift of each other. For in one another, we see you. And in living for each other, we experience a foretaste of heaven. Thank you, God, for my family.
This Lent, make the all-important sacrifice of quality time; and may you discover, anew, Christ in your family!