I missed the Lenten midway checkpoint. Maybe on purpose. I haven’t exactly done a bang-up job with Lent this year. I can’ t say I mustered any great ambition to kick off the annual forty days of preparation for Easter. I share a bathroom with five other people, have no automatic dishwasher or microwave, and no hot water in the bathroom sink. Don’t I sacrifice enough every day?
Uh, no. Not really. Not that those couldn’t be legitimate sacrifices, but it would require performing them with the right intention. Which I haven’t.
Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving.
The three hallmarks of Lent.
Perennial Lenten seasons of pregnancy and nursing little ones have left me out of the habit of traditional sacrifices. You know, the food-related ones. We’ve cut out most desserts as a family this Lent, so at least there’s that. The most fruitful fast I remember is the year I gave up listening to the radio in the car, instead filling my commutes and errands with silence. I’d considered adopting that sacrifice again, but my time in the car is sporadic these days, and with four children, it’s never silent.
Almsgiving has never done much for me. Which probably means I’ve not been doing it right. We give away a percentage of our income year-round. I’m throwing spare change in the kids’ mission boxes, but there are no little “extras” to give up and donate the difference. No cups of coffee or lunches out. We’ll make a donation from our tax refund at least, but since I haven’t earned an income in nearly ten years, I can’t say that giving money feels like much of a sacrifice to me.
That leaves me with prayer, an area where I continue to struggle based on my inability to find a few distraction-free moments during the day. I can make time for almost anything, and I do. My ability to write and do a multitude of other things is only possible because I can do it distracted and interrupted. If I count on prayer time with no distractions or interruptions, I’ve found that it just doesn’t happen. I already have issues with the all-or-nothing approach to resolutions.
That’s a long introduction to five of my favorite prayers. I can’t swing contemplative prayer at this stage in my life, but I can rely on these well-loved and treasured prayers.
A Prayer For My Husband
I came across this prayer years ago via Danielle Bean. I don’t know its source. When I’ve made a concentrated effort to recite this prayer daily, I’ve notice improvements in my marriage. It’s taped to the wall next to our kitchen sink, and I’ve ignored it for too long.
A Parent’s Prayer
Our former pastor distributed these prayers on occasions throughout the year. This one stuck, and it’s affixed to the wall beside the Prayer For My Husband. My favorite lines: May I ever be mindful that my children are children and I should not expect of theme the judgments of adults. Let me not rob them of the opportunity to wait on themselves and to make decisions.”
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
My mother prayed this prayer as a young woman when she was hoping to meet a man to marry. It worked. She married a man whose last name happened to be Perpetua. More than sixty years after her wedding day and more than ten since my father has passed, she still keeps an image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help on her kitchen counter. She gave me a holy card with this prayer when I was a child, and I memorized it.
The 23rd Psalm
My mom once gave me a bookmark from our local Catholic shop with this psalm on the back and suggested I memorize it. I did. I still recite it every night before I fall asleep. It has been a great comfort to me in trying times. Choose your translation. Apparently our Catholic shop sold the King James Version, because that is what I’ve memorized with its “maketh” and “leadeth.”
The Jesus Prayer
The older I get the more I seek mercy. I learned the Jesus Prayer, favored by the Eastern churches, a decade or more ago. It’s to the point and so short I can say it without distraction or interruption.
Lord Jesus Chris, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
You’re invited to my Easter Blog Party: Bonnets, Baskets, & Bunnies.
Visit this site Easter Week (April 5 through April 12) and take part in the Easter joy. Share your blog post of your family surrounded by Easter flowers on the church altar, cute kiddies in their Easter outfits, what the Easter Bunny used to fill your baskets, or bunnies – of the chocolate or live variety. Don’t have a blog? That’s okay. Let’s hear about your Easter in only ten words.