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So, here we are on the Monday of Holy Week. Trying to focus on the joy & celebration of Easter Sunday just 6 days away.
Usually, we live this Holy week by having Mass on Monday, Wednesday, Holy Thursday, and then Good Friday Service. But, this year we are all home and living this week in an alternate way.
Although different this year, I am hoping we get to experience this week in a very pious, quiet and prayerful way.
And, since we really have no distractions in the form of activities, sports, school, or greeting & hugging our neighbor we should be able to put a lot of intention into our Holy Week Preparation.
But wait a minute, it isn’t just me here all alone.
With my family home as well, I have to expect that there will be many more opportunities to practice the very virtues I have been trying to work on during Lent.
This is the ‘last push’ so to speak, and I will definitely be tested. And if truth be told, ‘quiet’ will happen rarely.
But, what can I do? How can I help this whole Holy Week experience to be a blessing for all?
Make A Way
In order for there to be a chance for my children to experience Holy Week in a deeper way, we put into place the very things that will point us all in that direction.
The direction toward a personal and more meaningful journey through the Passion of our Lord and ultimately His resurrection on Easter morning.
We have some things we do during Holy Week to help us. Yes, it is different this year, but, that makes it all the more important to follow through and really pay attention to the purpose and the little details.
Decorate A Special Place ~ By having a special area in your home where you can come together to focus and pray, you can create a sense of holy worship in your home. It can help your family to find peace, the desire to pray, community, and a feeling of calm.
Quiet ~ we always make sure that Holy Week is a week of quiet reflection. We limit the music being played to religious or instrumental only. On Good Friday we ask that even talking is kept to a minimum (honestly, I really enjoy this one).
Television & Technology ~ TV & computer time is restricted to religious viewing this week. Movies like religious documentaries, Jesus of Nazareth (FREE with Amazon Prime), The Passion (FREE with Prime), Mary the Mother of Jesus, or the Ten Commandments are some of our favorites.
Family Prayer ~ Even though we try to do this all through the year, it is more focused and simply more meaningful during Holy Week. And this year, we simply have more to pray about and more people to pray for.
Fasting ~ on Friday – just one meal and a snack is allowed for everyone. Believe it or not, contrary to what my children believe, everyone lives through this!
Now ~ Sit Back, Grow Spiritually, Relax & Enjoy The Week
I just listed what we always try to do these six days before Easter. But with all nine people in this family, it won’t go as smoothly as we would like.
But, all we can do is offer the opportunity for a deeper experience of this time we have together this week.
As the mom, homemaker, and the one here all-day-everyday, I have to make an effort not to let discouragement get the best of me.
I have to keep trying to create a home that can encourage a movement in the direction of deeper Christian living and for the Holy Spirit to do some work.
Don’t Expect It All To Be Perfect
There will be fighting, arguing, disrespect and hurt feelings. We are human and these are inconveniences simply to be expected. Especially during times when we are intentionally looking to grow or help others grow in their Christian life.
But, no matter what I have to be present every day, pray and help provide a path for a chance to grow in holiness.
God even uses my own weakness to help pave the way. When I fail I have all of these Holy reminders I have put in place, to help me regain my focus, reclaim my peace, apologize, and begin again.
I mean, who can keep a prideful grudge against someone while watching a movie portraying the forgiveness that Jesus offered until his dying breath? – I hate it when I get convicted in my heart with something I initiated!
On top of that, I need to remember that there is a very strong resistance to my efforts. When we choose to live a Christian life and really work to follow Christ, we gain the attention of satan.
Don’t believe me? Pray for an increase in your patience. Then just see how many opportunities ‘just show up’ giving you the chance to practice it. I know it sounds really religious, but it is simply the truth.
Holy Week – Why Try?
Yes, it can be sometimes a struggle. As a parent guiding and leading our children in a direction we know is good, true and right for them, we sometimes may feel like it is a battle fought in vain.
But times like Holy Week are important and need our attention, even if we feel discouraged.
It was just this week that I had my 17-year-old son open my eyes to this.
The boys were fighting, a daily occurrence, and were not listening to me. They would not stop. It was as if I was invisible and mute.
I turned and quietly walked away from the situation feeling defeated and wondering what to do next.
I then looked back at them (they were watching me at this point ) and asked, “what do you think I get from all of this fighting and disrespect?”
This is when my 17-year-old looked at me and said: “mom, you are getting a lot”.
“Really, what?” I asked.
He responded with: “Just think of all the virtue you’re having the chance to grow in. You do know this is how you get it?”
Um, okay… yes, I do have plenty of chances to practice and grow in virtue. And I guess I am slowly gaining some ground in that area. But, what he said and how he said it gave me just a glimpse of the hope I needed to see.
Keep Going Even If It Seems Like Nothing Is Changing
You and your family are not perfect. We all have things to work on.
Your efforts during Holy Week, or any other time, will sometimes go unnoticed, unappreciated, and seemingly have no effect at all.
But, always keep your eyes and heart open for those little slivers of hope. My son showed me that what we try to do, does have an effect, as hidden as it may seem at that moment.
Even if I really have to search for it, it often shows up in an unexpected way, time, or place. This is my hope & prayer for this Holy Week and beyond – to be able to notice all those little blessings – And thank God for them.