I want to share with you a secret weapon that I learned about years ago. I will give you one hint- it’s parked outside in your driveway. Whether you drive a Subaru hatchback or a 14 passenger monster van, it makes no difference. Either one can be transformed into an evangelizing, faith sharing, scripture teaching prayer center on wheels.
That hunk of metal is your own private classroom and/or retaining cell, whichever way you choose to look at it. As your family climbs inside, don’t make the mistake of allowing the screens to be turned on. Satan would love it if each miniature human was mindlessly distracted by flashing images for the entire ride. When the screen is on, with games or videos, the disengagement is complete and you have lost them.
The beauty of an automobile is that when those little bodies are clicked safely into place there is nowhere for them to go. You now have their full attention. Even if your children are 6 feet away in the back of a 14 passenger cargo van, they can still hear your voice. Now let the fun begin!
Make your time together happy and light. Regardless of how much tension there may have been while getting ready, once the wheels start turning, begin anew. Put on your liveliest sing-song voice and lead everyone in prayer with, “Good morning! We are going to thank the Lord for this beautiful day! Who has something they want to thank Jesus for?” You can begin and let everyone else chime in.
Then say something like, “OK everyone, who has something they want to pray about this morning?” Let each person add their own intentions out loud.
Perhaps you have a lesson that you’re going over in your faith formation class or something you want to teach. Other options might include learning the St. Michael Prayer, the books of the Bible, talking about what Father spoke about on Sunday in his homily, or putting on a Christian song to sing. Laugh and enjoy the time learning together.
These are the moments you want to seize. These are the times that you don’t want to be filled with crabbiness and rushing to get from one place to another. Don’t zone out when you get in the car! Use this time to get your children’s attention and introduce them to new topics in the faith.
Be ready, plan ahead, and try to prepare with things you can discuss or learn in the car together. Most importantly- talk, talk and talk! Focus on praying for other people. Teach intercessory prayer or try praying to a different saint each day. The options are endless.
While driving, if you see a police car or ambulance with the siren on, take a moment and pray together for peace within that situation. Pray for God to be with them. Give your children the opportunity to think about the Lord even in these everyday circumstances. Spark those flames of faith. Ignite those feelings of love for Jesus and the idea that He is with us each moment of every day. Use your vehicle as a vehicle to bring your kids closer to the Lord and closer to heaven.
Why I Love Lent and You Should Too
Yes- I love Lent. Years ago, a friend of mine seemed perplexed by that idea. Looking back on it, I can see why she had this reaction. In her mind, as is common with many people, Lent is a time to give up the things that are precious to us. It is a time to sacrifice and go hungry or without comforts or the pleasures of this world for 40 days. That is a mighty long time!
So what is there to love?
If you do it right, if you choose to take it seriously, Lent will transform your life.
My recommendations? Don't simply give up something in your life for Lent but give in to more of Jesus in your life. Whether that means time for daily prayer, time for daily Mass, time for Adoration, or some other time for the Lord, it is in the time that the true change will take place.
As you can tell, I feel very passionately that time makes the difference. Wait- don't get discouraged and say, "I don't have time! My life is out of control the way it is!"
Take a deep breath, I'm not talking about something that is unattainable. I'm talking about 5 minutes. Can you carve out 5 minutes of your day for someone who longs to be with you? Of course you can! I know you can do it. I want you to do it because I KNOW it will make a change in your life. I know it changed mine and that is what I want for you.
If you're not sure where to start, pick up a good book on prayer like the To Know The Savior Prayer Guide & Journal and turn to the prayer page that speaks to your heart. Don't forget to journal about your time spent with Jesus and write down what you felt God was telling you. This will make your prayer time more powerful and you can look back on your writings and be reminded of your time with Jesus. I guarantee that the journaling will allow Jesus to speak to your heart in a new way.
Be intentional and give a part of your day to Jesus. He will take what you have given and He will touch your heart. If you are consistent with your commitment to spending 5 minutes every day with Jesus, something within you will experience a complete transformation. You will hear His voice more clearly. You will see Him in your life in a new way. You will be reminded of His great love for you and how He is right there by your side each and every day.
At the end of Lent, when the time has come to feast and celebrate His resurrection, your life will look different, your heart will feel different and your relationship with Jesus will be different. You may be eating your chocolates and indulging in more of life's pleasantries, but your desire for God will have changed. You will see Him more clearly in your daily walk and you will want to stay close to Him because it feels good to know He is there.
Your Lenten journey may have been for a mere 40 days, but the shift in your desire for Him and the intensity of your love for Him will remain with you. Your love for Jesus will have changed and the way you look at your life and everything in it will have changed. Because His love changes everything!
That change is why I LOVE LENT!
A child came to earth, grew in wisdom & knowledge, became a man and died on a cross for you.
How does that change anything? How does that change you? The way you live, the words you speak or the decisions you make at any given moment of the day?
Think about it.
Are you living your life with this idea in mind? The idea, the reminder, the incredible truth, that YOU are important enough for God to become a man and sacrifice Himself for you?
An omnipotent God, the one who created the universe and every microcosm within it, loves you enough the He would give His life for you!
Dare I ask again- how does that change you?
Spend some time pondering that question and ask Jesus what changes He would like to make in your life. Examine your choices and ask Him what He would have you doing differently. Are you afraid to ask? Worried what you might hear Him say? In His own words, Jesus said, "I have not come to condemn." He wants to help you. He wants you to be with Him for all eternity.YOU are the reason He did what he did.
Make the changes in your life that will allow you to follow Him more closely. Ask Him for His guidance and help. Pray- "Jesus, you gave your life for me. Help me to respond to you by giving you mine in return." Amen.
I have a confession to make.