Thursday, March 6, 2014

Do Less to Give More This Lent

Welcome, friends!
I’m participating in the Catholic Bloggers Network 
Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2014!
We’ll be sharing tips, stories and  experiences
that will help us focus on
 Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds
 and how to carry them out with 
LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.
It's one of those nights again when I feel that I'm hardly making a dent at my ever-growing to-do list. But instead of working on some of the items on my list, I choose to write my thoughts about how I want to spend Lent this year with my family. I choose to pause from worrying about my deliverables because my heart and soul aches for silence and meditation.
I'm glad that it's Lent once again! I need this time for myself. I know that Lent is a season of grace and I choose to open my life to more of His graces during these 40 days.
As I strive to silence the noises around and within me, I heard God whisper to me, "Do less so you can give more."
I was thrilled with what I heard! I felt excited!
Thus, I resolved to:
1. Stick to our Lenten traditions instead of adding to them. In fact, I was thinking earlier if there is anything that I should let go of this year.
Here are some of our usual activities during Lent:
   a. Ash Wednesday Mass
   b. Donation box or Lenten Calendar - This year, I've decided to do  away with the calendar and just have the donation box. We used a cereal box again. We simply covered it with purple board and my eldest son Yanthy wrote "alms" to label the box. The kids were so eager to put coins inside.

   c. Hide the Alleluia. - This tradition is significant to Mateo this year because he looks forward to singing the Alleluia in the daily Mass. Let's see how these 40 day break would affect him.
   d. Go to confession.
   e. Visit a charitable institution to do an outreach activity. - I usually do this close to my birthday.
   f. Attend a Lenten recollection/retreat. - We usually attend one that Brother Bo Sanchez conducts each year (even when my husband and I were still single.)
   g. Visit churches on Holy Thursday and pray the Stations of the Cross. 
   h. Join the Triduum activities in the parish.
   i. Attend the Grand Easter Feast of our community (Light of Jesus). 
   j. Abstain on meat on Fridays of Lent and on Ash Wednesday. - Check out my latest post where I compiled some meatless recipes for Lent.
   k. Fast on some of our favorite foods/things. - This Lent, I've decided to fast on ice cream and chocolates.
   l. Read more Bible stories or books about Bible characters and watch movies related to Lent or Bible heroes. - This morning, the kids and I read their (children's) Bible and other board books based on the Bible. They also watched their latest favorite video on the Saints -- St. Matthew and St. John the Baptist.

You can read more about our Lenten practices in my previous post here and here, which was part of last year's Keep Love in Lent Link up too.
2. I will do less structured activities with the kids to give myself and the kids more time to play unstructured games and spontaneous conversations. I want to plan less so that I would stress less. For when I'm stressed, I'm easily irritated or angered. I'm less patient and forbearing. I easily snap. I'm not as loving as I want to be.
Sometimes, I do art and craft activities with the kids to help them understand the season more. This year, I will see if doing crafts again would contribute to my goal of being recharged in body and spirit and if this would make my kids experience more of God's love through me. If having these activities would make me more stressed, less patient and less loving, I'd probably skip this.
3. I want to do less work this season so I can have more time for prayer and reflection, savor the blessings that God has given me, and rejoice in my dreams that were already fulfilled and are now part of my new normal.

And because we now live in a house that's just behind a church and we've been attending daily Masses since we moved here, we will continue this practice this Lent. I will make time for more visits to the Adoration Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament without the kids and with the kids.

I will journal more about what God has been telling me or teaching me. I will write about the goodness of the Lord that I'm savoring at this time of my life as my way of expressing gratitude to Him and giving back the glory to His name.

I've noticed that I've been living a very fast-paced life and I have not really taken some time to rest big time since last year. I know that I need this because I had been working hard. This Lent, I want to let God minister to me in body and in spirit. I will let God breathe new life to me and refresh my spirit. I will take time to assess my life, where I am now, and where I want to go with God.
I can see mountains in front of me as I write this post. These mountains challenge my faith and my resolve. I choose however to look past these mountains and to focus on Jesus. I know that what I want to do and experience this Lent is impossible for man, but not with God.
So, tonight, I present my plans to God. I believe that He spurred me to write these down so I won't forget what I hope to experience and accomplish this Lent. 
To do less so I can give more of myself to God, my family, my friends and community is my way of keeping love in Lent this year. Loving myself more by giving God the opportunity to pour His love into my life so that I would have love to pour out to those around me, especially to those nearest me.

This Lent excites me! How about you? How do you plan to spend Lent this year? 


  1. Stopping in to spread some love from the link up! I was truly inspired by your honesty in this post. And it touched a part of me that always says, "but we just have to do "x" too!". Doing less so that you can do more just may become my new mantra (and not just for this Lenten season). Thank you for this truly.

    1. Thank you, Chrystal for dropping by! I'm glad that this post inspired you. Have a blessed Lent.