This lent is off to a great start! Each of the kids, for the first time, are excited and interested in taking part in lent. In the preceding week, the older kids mostly ( aged 10 and 11), but even the little ones (4 and 6), were excited about the things they were going to do for lent.
I asked myself what had changed to bring about such a genuine desire in my children to want to so fervently take part in lent? Was it the move to a new country? Was it the recent visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia? Is to be part of the Emmanuel Community? Is it the new school and new friends, possibly missing the old? Is it their natural growth in faith? I’m sure each of these experiences have influenced them and in some ways forced them to step outside their comfort zones.
We have always tried to instill the faith in the kids by praying off and on, attending Catholic schools, and teaching them about the saints and the catechism. But this is something new something different, something we have been longing for all along. A sort of self inspired desire from each of the children, not because we said so, but because they want to! Where did this come from.
The only answer I can up with is Grace. But where did the grace come from and why now. Well I suppose we really won’t, at least not in this life, ever know for sure. I believe there are two sources I can readily testify to. One major change, apart from all the ones I just listed above, is to deepen our devotion to Our Lady, for example with the novena to Our Lady untying of Knots and/or the “33 days to Morning Glory” by Fr. Michael Gaitley We ended up consecrating our entire family to Our Lady. So I think this is the first source of Grace. The second?
The Year of Mercy. Pope Francis has declared this year an extraordinary year of mercy. Our kids went on a school excursion to walk through the Principal Holy Door at the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. The benefits of walking through a holy door are “awesome” remission of sins, a plenary indulgence and all punishment do to sin! What struck me was that each of my kids offered these benefits, not for themselves but for their friends or someone whom, they felt, needed it more that them. So definitely the second source of Grace.
We are excited to have started Lent!