I can sense the coming of spring, although we keep having snow showers here. On Tuesday the flakes were especially big and beautiful. They melted almost as quickly as they covered the ground, remaining for just a little while on the tips of dry branches and plants. As much as I am ready for warm weather, I know that spring is going to land suddenly and I won’t be ready. Jonny and I are talking about scaling back in the garden this year, planting less for us, more for the bees. But then, we can’t decided what not to plant. We’ll probably do too much as usual, and end up with an overgrown mess because we can’t keep up with it all. The travel baseball schedule is in, and it looks like it will dominate our weekends through early June. That commitment is a hard one for me to accept. I hate to miss watching the boys play, but I rely on weekends to regroup at the end of the week. I’m sure we’ll strike a balance somehow.
I’m getting ahead of myself, stressing about a busy schedule that doesn’t start for another month. Lent begins in less than a week. I have a definite theme, one that evolved with the help of some friends. I’m thinking small. I’m thinking of St. Therese because I need her ‘little way’ right now more than ever. It all started when a friend asked for family reading suggestions for Lent. I mentioned Bringing Lent home with Mother Theresa and she answered that there is a new book out now, featuring the words and life of St. Therese. She went on to recommend Shirt of Flame: A Year with Saint Therese of Lisieux. And then she even mailed me her copy. St. Therese’s message, that it’s not the greatness of our actions nor their difficulty, but the love with which we do them, is universal in its reach. Her little way is accessible to a child just as it is to an adult. We could all afford to love more. So in these coming weeks I will pray for the grace I need to fill my every action with love, whether I’m cleaning a toilet, wiping a nose, or interacting with someone whom I find difficult to get along with. I will encourage this family of mine, stir crazy and bickering as we near the end of winter, to join me. While it seems that every year I start Lent with great intentions and end up falling short, I pray that by focusing on the small things this year, that we will emerge as a family with a strengthened faith, a deepened prayer life, and a greater love for Jesus and each other. Oh dear, that doesn’t sound small at all. Let me step back from the big picture, and focus instead on just doing the next thing, and doing it with love.
Our Lenten Booklist includes: Shirt of Flame (for me) Bringing Lent Home with St. Therese of Lisieux (daily family prayers and devotions), The Little Flower (family read aloud), and the first six books in the Catholic Children’s Treasure Box which feature stories of Saint Therese’s childhood along with pictures (perfect for the younger kids.) I’ve bought a few little reminders as well including some vintage holy cards and St. Therese bracelets for the girls. I have sets of sacrifice beads hidden away for each of them as well for when they are ready. I added my Lenten Booklist to the sidebar. It includes the books we are reading this year, along with some from year’s past. I especially recommend A Family Journey with Jesus Through Lent.