Sacrifice, sacrifice. sacrifice. That always seems to be the Lenten theme. There are so many ways that this can be done. Many of us fast something, or we “give it up for God.” For countless years my mother has given up dessert.
Maybe we have at one point tried the Lenten diet, where we give everything up for 40 days, and then go back to the same patterns we were in Easter Monday. Here’s a challenge: why do we always give something up? Why can we not double something or do more?
As mentioned in my previous column, running retreats and youth group meetings will be something the leaders and I do more of. This Sunday the youth group of Our Lady Fatima Parish in Bensalem will be performing the Living Stations of the Cross. We work with them every Sunday for two hours so they are able to familiarize themselves with their parts, understand their religion and also learn to know the power of prayer.
I emphasize that last one because after being a part of the Stations play for 11 years now, I have seen how things miraculously come together at the eleventh hour!
As we begin this play, we start the kids off with a meditation activity. This type of meditation is not typical. Considering they will be blindfolded, we want to make sure that they are all aware of what is going to happen. We ask them to sit in a room while soft music is playing. Once everyone settles down, they are blindfolded and brought one by one into the church. We dress them with a shawl, and place a fake crown of thorns over their heads.
This is a walking mediation of the Stations of the Cross, commonly referred to as a Cross Walk. At the very end each one is “crucified” and is taken off the cross and led to sit in the back of the church to reflect on what just happened.
This meditation helps in a number of ways. For one, it seems that they understand what Jesus went through and how he may have felt in the process. Another is that the play seemed to hit home from the very beginning this year, as opposed to last year when they had their “AH-HA moment” the day of the performance. (I have this joke with the kids and I say that I am going to name my first ulcer Our Lady of Fatima Youth Group.)
Lent does not have to be a time of just sacrifices and living with less. Live with more — more prayer, more rosaries, more Masses per week, more confessions and more service projects. There are so many ways we can prepare this Lenten season by living with more.
Besides, you know if you give up chocolate for Lent, come Easter Sunday, what are you going to do? That’s right, dive head first into the chocolate! If we dive head first into prayer and service this Lent, it will become easier to do in our everyday lives.
I always like to think of a specific Bible verse during Lent that really encourages me to focus on what I want more of in my life: Matthew 25:40. I’d write it out in this column, but if you want more then you have to dig deep!
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Blindfolding is hazing; please don’t do that again.