Friday, 1 April 2011

A Lenten Pathway

At the half way point of Lent our prayer, fasting and almsgiving should be well established in whatever form. We are on our journey to Easter, a pathway of learning about ourselves and exploring ways to renew our old self in time for Easter and its grace.
When children are small (and not so small!) it can really help to make a pathway. A large piece of paper, a path which twists and turns and is divided into squares for each day, maps out their personal  journey. So each child has their own pathway. At the end of the path we see the Holy Eucharist (Maundy Thursday), Calvary (Good Friday) and finally the empty tomb. Along the way and written on each day are little reminders, daily activities, deeds, gestures, prayers e.g. help mummy lay the table, put my toys away, do my homework without having to be told, say a prayer for grandma, don't eat between meals, no sweets today, write a letter to a lonely person, help a younger sibling, get up willingly. Children can make these up with help. As the child completes these, the squares are coloured in, usually in Lenten colours. Feastdays, however, can be coloured brightly and expressed with a symbol (a green shamrock for St Patrick and a lily for the Annunciation) and do not need a penitential exercise. On Holy Saturday the child can decorate the pathway with daffodils, Easter eggs and frolicking lambs. Parents can write something like 'well done - Christ is Risen Alleluia!' on each child's completed journey.
Ah how I'd love to be still a child!

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