Lent Activities

Burying the Alleluia

There is a tradition called the Burying of the Alleluia.  During Lent, as a symbol that we are separated from God by sin, we don’t sing the Alleluia during the Mass because we are separated from praising God with the Angels and Saints.  Traditionally, they would take a coffin inscribed with the word Alleluia and bury it as a symbol of this separation, thus burying the Alleluia.  This funeral like all funerals is what is called a deposition of the body, Latin for “giving on deposit”.  Because like our dead, the Alleluia is only deposited into the earth in hope of the Resurrection and the life of the world to come.  Thus, the Alleluia is on deposit until Easter.  To bring that tradition home and update it, make a small pile of mustard seeds on a plate or in a bowl.  This to symbolize the faith you wish to obtain.

“… For most certainly I tell you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20

Take a little coffin, from those Halloween villages or make your own, and write the word Alleluia, or decoupage a picture of an angel or whatever Alleluia means to you.  Then make a hole in the center of the mustard seed and put the coffin into it.

Pray the Act of Contrition:

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I love above all things.  I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.  Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.  In His name, my God, have mercy. Amen.

Bury the coffin in the mustard seed.  At our home we also put a figure of Jesus knocking at the door on top and leave it there as a visual reminder all during Lent.


Don’t give up!  Change! Spring Cleaning!

A lot of people have a tradition of giving up something for Lent.  This comes from the older tradition of “giving up the flesh” or abstaining from anything of the body, by which they meant veganism in a strange medieval sort of way.  This was also because it was a spiritual season, not a physical one and we just said goodbye to the flesh with Carnevale.  However, fish specifically salmon, where considered a symbol of spiritual wisdom and as a remembrance of “being fishers of men” people sometimes eat fish during Lent.

Today, it is about giving something up for Lent.  Everyone askes, ‘what are you giving up for lent?’  It is thought to be giving up something so that you will suffer for God, but on Sundays and starting Easter you get whatever it was right back.  This is a waste of Lent!  If you give up something for Lent it is supposed to be for the betterment of your soul!  God does not want suffering!  God is Love!  And what does Love want in return?  Acceptance.  God only wants you to accept the love He is giving you, nothing more.  If you accept this Love your life changes completely!

So change or give up something?  I have an idea that will solve both.  It will help you change and it allows you to give up something, because many people feel guilty if they don’t give up something for Lent.  Give up the world and take in the Spirit!  That is what the season is all about!  Living in the word and deed of Love!

How do you do that?  Give up materialism.

As we learned in Carnevale consumerism is ridiculous.  So let’s start tearing down some barns!

He said to them, “Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man’s life doesn’t consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses.” He spoke a parable to them, saying, “The ground of a certain rich man brought forth abundantly. He reasoned within himself, saying, ‘What will I do, because I don’t have room to store my crops?’ He said, ‘This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. I will tell my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared—whose will they be?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:15-21

For greater detail please see my post on Real Minimalism it has stories and ideas to get you started.


Spring Cleaning of Your Soul

The best way of spring cleaning your soul is to pray, re-enforce your connection with God.  Spend some time each day praying to and listening to (meditating on) God.  Start simply, talk to God about your day, your hopes, your dreams, what you feel good about, what you feel guilty about – anything, everything.  Then after you pray, meditate.  Mediation is not blanking your mind.  Focus on God, not on nothing.  It is listening to God.  Praying is talking; meditation is listening.


Spring Cleaning of Your Mind

The best way of spring cleaning your mind is to be a mermaid (or merman)!  While going to the beach and getting in the ocean is months away, if ever, for many of us, the mermaid is a great visualization.  We can learn from the mermaid.  We can relax and grow our mertail.  We can go deep into the ocean of our subconscious mind, explore the shipwrecks of our past deeds and relationships.  We can acknowledge them, explore them and make peace with them.  Ask for forgiveness if necessary, give forgiveness if necessary.  Let those shipwrecks become merely structures for you to build beautiful coral reefs of your new way of being.  Do not get trapped in the sinking ship of past wrongs you’ve done or were done to you, but acknowledge it as beautiful for it has made you who you are and has helped you on the road to who you wish to be.


Eat Pretzels

According to tradition, the pretzel first came about during Lent as an invention of Italian monks.  To make bread without butter, eggs or anything of the body they invented, basically pretzel sticks, then added the salt on the outside for flavoring.  During Lent, if children learned their prayers the monks would make special Lenten bread folded over to look like praying hands (arms crossed over the chest), as a treat.  Hence the name Bracchiola in Italian meaning “little arms.”  German monks liked the idea and began to make them as well calling them Brezel from the Latin, bracellus meaning bracelet.  The English speaking monks then started to make them as Pretzels.  Now you can easily by pretzels in the store but you can also make nice soft pretzels at home.  A recipe is in the Lent Recipes post.

Peace be with you.

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