“The penance of this age is to be faithful to your duties in your state of life.” — Mother Angelica

We’re still in the beginning of the Lenten season, and depending on how things are going, it likely feels as though there’s still a loooong way to go.

Have you considered offering a penance as a family this year?

These small offerings done together will yield great graces for your family while also uniting you in your Catholic faith!
Based on the three pillars of Lent – prayer, fasting, and almsgiving – here are 5 things all families should be doing this Lent. And if you aren’t already doing them, now is the time to start!

1) Prayer

Commit to adding one extra daily prayer, or weekly holy outing.

Commit to one extra daily Mass or visit to Eucharistic Adoration, AS A FAMILY, during the week. Families also can join in a daily Morning Offering prayer, Rosary, or nightly examination of conscience.

2) Prayer

Lean in to the graces of Confession.

Go, AS A FAMILY, at least twice during Lent. And, even after Lent, make a practice of going, AS A FAMILY, every 2-4 weeks.
Not only does Confession heal and restore our relationship with God, it also gives us the grace to avoid sin in the future.

3) Fasting

Fast from TV and movies.

Replace that time with individual prayer, family “holy hours” at home (which can include praying the Rosary or a chaplet, meditating on the daily readings, or spending quiet time in front of an image of Jesus).
Things simple things cultivate peace in your home and allows you hear the whisper of God in the quieting of life. And you’ll be amazed at how much more time you have!

4) Fasting

Fast from bickering with each other.

Make a plan to resolve conflicts peacefully (to the extent that you’re able. Good luck trying to negotiate with toddlers). Also, in place of bickering, practice gratitude!

This can hard when it’s been a tough day, but being thankful for God’s blessings is a gift to Him, and to us as well! You can try feeling thankful for God’s provision through your employment, the gift of good health for your family, or even the weather – remember even rain is a blessing.

5) Almsgiving

As a family, plan to do extra acts of charity and works of mercy, and each family member can contribute to the extent they’re able.

This can include making cards for the elderly in nursing homes, donating to GoFundMe or GiveSendGo pages, shopping together for extra grocery items for a food pantry, giving gently used toys and baby supplies to a local pregnancy center, and more.

Committing to these pillars of Lent as family is a great way to practice tangible sacrifices and penances as a family.

As you continue striving to grow in holiness together, may God grant you the grace you need to love each other, forgive each other, make decisions together, and serve Our Lord together.

For more practical ways to grow in love of God and get your family to Heaven, check out The Prayer Book for Tired Parents: Practical Ways to Grow in Love and Get Your Family to Heaven by Debbie and Dave Cowden.

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[See also: Struggling with Past Hurts? Try This Prayer to St. Josephine Bakhita for the Grace to Forgive]

[See also: Why St. Thomas Aquinas is the “Angelic Doctor” of the Church – The Amazing Supernatural Story]

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