Monday, March 3, 2014

The Dig: Preparation

Oh! I'm so happy I've got some takers on the Lenten "dig" (book study, book club, bible study...I have no idea what to call it so we're just going to call it The Dig, how does that sound?)

What Jesus Saw from the Cross is the book we'll be reading/discussing. If you still want in, it's not too late! (It'll never be too late, feel free to join at any time.) I see the paperback is no longer available on Amazon, but Jill did some looking around and found it on christianbook.com and (with shipping) the price is about $20 (thanks, Jill!). Kindle and Nook versions are also available and each look to be about $10.  I tried our local library and didn't have any luck, but you might also be able to try that route.

I'm going to be honest and say I don't exactly know what form these discussions are going to take - but I think that is okay - let's just go with it, we'll figure things out as we go; they can be fluid, changing from week-to-week.  That being said, I thought it'd be a good idea to have a general framework for discussion dates/chapters.  I was thinking it might be best to have the posts go live on Wednesdays - the thought behind that is that Lent starts with Ash Wednesday and I'd like to have our last discussion on Wednesday, April 16th, before we enter the Holy Triduum.

If you're a non-Catholic and you just read that and now you are thinking, what in the hell is she talking about?  Do not fret.

Brief side discussion happening in 3, 2, 1...while Triduum is a term I've only become familiar with since converting to Catholicism, the practice is not new to me (I was raised Methodist, but I think this is common with other denominations as well, correct me if I'm wrong) Long story short, the Triduum is a series of three masses/services that begins with Maudy Thursday (or, the Last Supper and the washing of the feet), includes Good Friday (the time the Lord spent on the cross) and ends with the Easter Vigil/Easter service (Resurrection).

Okay! Back to business.  Discussion dates:

Wed., March 5th - Ash Wednesday, start of Lent, start of The Dig.
Wed., March 12th - Discuss Prologue & Chapter 1
Wed., March 19th - Discuss Chapters 2 & 3
Wed., March 26th - Discuss Chapters 4 & 5
Wed., April 2nd - Discuss Chapters 6 & 7
Wed., April 9th - Discuss Chapters 8 & 9
Wed., April 16th - Discuss Chapters 10 & Epilogue, conclude The Dig

Anyone that would like to write a guest post at any time during this just let me know - the stage will be yours :)

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While this post is being written to prepare us for our "dig" I can't hit publish on it without discussing some other ways in which we can prepare for this upcoming season.  I have no intention of going into any of these discussions throughout the season, these are personal in nature, but I know, each year,  I'm guilty of not thinking through this enough before Ash Wednesday is here.  And so, I'm discussing this mostly for myself.

Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving: The Three Pillars of Lent.

I find it kind of funny that we're "preparing" for Lent when Lent, itself, is a preparation; a preparation spiritually for the celebration of Easter. Just like when I throw my kids a birthday celebration and I need to clean the house, cook the food, and decorate, in order to more fully celebrate our Risen Lord we also need to prepare; and we can do that through these pillars: prayer, fasting, almsgiving. There is no one size fits all when it comes to this; this is going to look different for everyone, but here are just a few things I'm thinking about as I get ready for Wednesday.

Picture from Best Catholic Posters


Prayer - I've been continuously working on spending more time reading, using my devotional, and praying. I've been working on the Rosary, literally one decade at a time, and I will confess I have YET to make it though the entire thing in one day....but one easy thing I could do this season is commit to saying an Our Father once a day.  Did you know the Our Father is the only prayer the Lord taught us?

Fasting - There are many thoughts behind fasting during Lent, and as a Catholic I'm required to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and to abstain from meat on all Friday's throughout the season, but the one I like to remember is that by making a sacrifice we are reminded of the ultimate sacrifice of the Lord. Also, as I heard a priest once say, it's good to feel hunger pains; it reminds you of all those in the world who have to go without on a daily basis. So what about taking it one step further, what about giving something up? I've given up lots of things during Lent throughout the years, including your "traditional" soda, chocolate, desserts, ketchup.  What?  Ketchup isn't traditional?  Well, if you have known me for any length of time then you know that giving up ketchup is like the ultimate sacrifice for me. One year though, I gave up the snooze button, and that might have been the best and worst decision I've ever made.  I haven't figured out yet what I'm going to give up this year, but whatever it is, I think it is going to tie in with pillar #3....

Almsgiving - Giving to the needy.  Helping the poor. Proving aid to those who are the less fortunate.  I'm not even going to elaborate on this any further, but I will say this, do what you can. That might not be as much as what your neighbor can do and it might not be as much as you were able to do last year, the importance is that we do something.

Involving the Kids - Our kids are still little so I don't expect them to totally "get" all of this, but I was listening to Catholic Radio (go ahead and judge :) ) the other day and Danielle Bean was on as a guest and she had a really great suggestion for kids and Lent that I just wanted to share with you - we're going to be doing it here - grab an empty jar and a bag of rocks and for each time your kids do something....how do I word this....something that might be difficult for them? Around here that will look like: not fighting, sharing with your brother (voluntarily!), picking up your toys, and starting the prayer at dinner, they will get a rock to put in the jar.  The purpose is to fill up that jar full of rocks during Lent with the promise that Jesus will do something miraculous on Easter Sunday. What will he do?  Turn those rocks into jelly beans, of course!

The other thing I'd like to do with the kids this year is make Resurrection Cookies.

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Two days....we've got two days and then lets Dig Deeper this year; I'm so excited to do this together.

4 comments:

Amanda said...

Sounds like a plan! I need to find the book!!!

Jill said...

My book just shipped today, so looks like they're in stock if you want to try christianbook.com.

Just an idea for you - combination of involving the kids and prayer. If you don't already, a good habit we got into after we went to TEC last spring was to pray with the kids every night as we tuck them in. Every few nights, we would teach them a new prayer like the 'Our Father' or 'Hail Mary' so it would teach them to pray and they're also learning the prayers in the Mass. The older 3 all know them now because we've kept it going. So that's just a suggestion if you think you'll have trouble remembering to pray every day, kids have phenomenal memories! And if they get into it, they will help you stay diligent! Even little Hannah says to me, "Mom, we forgot to sing" if I forget as I'm tucking her in! :)

By the way, LOVE the idea of the rocks! Great way to get them involved! Looking forward to it! Thanks!

CAS said...

This is such a good post- love your deep thoughts and plans. I like the "rock" to jelly beans, such good deep rooted teaching here! Your such a good mamma! Love it that you are focusing on prayer, fasting and sacrificial giving to the poor. These are all chore to who Jesus is! So proud of you! You need to be proud of yourself too my dear!

Anonymous said...

Great idea Kate! Our ash Wednesday mass sermon gave 4 "weapons" to fight the distractions of everyday life and to help make the Lenton season a success. I thought I'd share with you and any of your readers that are interested: 1. live intentionally- each day the thought of God and lent should be as second nature as going to work on Monday morning. 2. Love fully- if you're doing it right it should hurt, love those that irritate you. 3. Learn humbly- have an open mind to really learn about Jesus. 4. Leave boldly- at the end of 40 days be different and show that you're doing it through God.
Have I mentioned that I love this priest? These are challenging, especially #2! I'm not sure I'll be able to participate much in the Dig, but what a great idea! (And clearly named by someone with 3 boys:) love ya, Karma