The church instructs its members to make prayer, fasting and almsgiving, integral parts of their lives. For you who need to supplement your Lenten Practices, your friendly homeschooling mom has adapted these from the list offered by the Catholic Herald to our more traditional tastes.
1. Read a book about your patron saint. OK.you can look him up online. If there's a video biography, order it here.
2. Pray for by name people you don't like and for people that don't like you.
3. Participate in Eucharistic Adoration. Every week.
4. Read a Catholic magazine. I recommend "Faith and Family" or the "National Catholic Register"
5. Read one of the great meditations on the Passion.
6. Buy two of everything on your grocery list, and give the duplicates to the local food pantry.
7. Attend daily Mass as often as your life's demands will permit.
8. Start a "cuss bowl." For every unkind word you utter, put in a dollar two dollars during Holy Week. After Easter, give the money to EWTN. (Eternal WORD Television Network, get it?!)
9. Take the Quiz my daughter and I made up; "Do You Know Your Baltimore Catechism?" as over 5, 700 people have already. Pass it on, we are helping to educate the world!
10.Give away one box of items to your church thrift shop.
11. Pray for those, e.g., children, parents, spouse, siblings, who have left the church.
12. Talk to a neighbor you rarely or never talk to. Invite them over for tea.
13. Keep a crucifix in a prominent place as a constant reminder of the season.
14. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Weekly.
15. Read the Scripture read at Mass each day. I read Magnificat for that and wonderful hymns, artwork, and meditations which deepen the meaning of the readings for me. If you have failed at this, turn on the Mass at EWTN, and at least watch the Scripture readings and homily.
16. Read a biography about Pope John Paul II and/or watch the new video on his life
17. Bring the children to visit an elderly relative, neighbor, or a nursing home.
18. Play a "Lighthouse Catholic Media" CD in your car each day. Then pass it on. Better yet, discuss with your pastor the possibility of setting up a display in your church vestibule.
19. Reserve a button on your car stereo for the Catholic Radio station in your area.
20. Pray the news for the people whose stories of hardship are reported daily.
21. Read an entry from a Catholic Answers online.
22. Visit three churches on the evening of Holy Thursday after the Blessed Sacrament is exposed on special altars. This is an ancient tradition my girls love, as it feels like a pilgrimage, and they love to see the originality of the floral decorations. I love to see the devotion of the people.
23. Tithe your tax return to the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. They're Fr. Benedict Groeschel's order, who help the poor in New York, Ireland, England, Haiti, and Honduras.
24. Pray a pro-life vigil outside an abortion mill.
25. Observe five minutes of silence every day.
26. Instead of watching your favorite TV show,(unless it's on EWTN) watch "The Passion of the Christ."
27. Use a Lenten theme in decorating your family altar.
28. Memorize your favorite Scripture passage.
29. Participate in the Stations of the Cross.
30. Tell someone your story of faith, how God has made a difference in your life. If you have a blog, post it online.
31. Disconnect the TV and/or the computer. (I fast from secular programming.)
32. Identify your God-given gifts, how you use them, and how you could use them better.
33. Fast from gossip.
34. The rosary: say it nightly with the whole family.
35. Remove your watch before leaving for church on Palm Sunday. If you don't get a seat, smile as you prepare for a little offering up of your small discomfort on Passion Sunday.
36. Don't forget to begin the Divine Mercy Novena on Good Friday.
37. Read a history of the Church. I recommend "Triumph: The Power and Glory of the Catholic Church" by HW Crocker III
38. Keep the 3 hours of silence on Good Friday (between 12 and 3) as much as possible.
39. Sacrifice your time in order to help others in need in your neighborhood.
40. Attend the Easter Triduum as a family.