As we discussed last week, here are some ideas for keeping the celebration of Easter near and dear to your heart.
Continue your Lenten observances.
This year, I aimed to do more spiritual reading during Lent. I was able to succeed in this, however one of my more ambitious goals was to get through Saint Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica. Let’s just say that I bit off more than I could chew with that tremendous work. I have decided to continue my efforts, and I think it is more reasonable to aim to complete this book by the time next Lent rolls around!
What’s this do for you: well, for me it keeps me focused on deepening my faith. In addition, I will continue reading other Catholic works such as Pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth series. It’s a great way to understand Christ’s life, what better way to celebrate the season of Easter!
No Meat on Fridays?
One of my favorite apologists, Matt Fradd, has decided to continue abstaining from meat on Fridays beyond Lent. This started a discussion in our household, because I was already thinking about doing this same thing (since it is still present in Canon Law after all). Interestingly, my wife was also considering a continuance of this beyond Lent so we decided that after Pentecost we are going to keep going with no meat Fridays in our house.
What’s this do for you: it keeps an appropriately penitential spirit throughout the year. I found that during Lent, I would often remember that it was “no-meat Friday” and think about Christ’s Passion and what he gave up for us. Why are we waiting until after Pentecost to start this? Because we figure Easter is a time of celebration and it seems like as good a time as any.
Spiritual Development for your Family
With Easter being a season of celebration, it is no better time to do some course-setting for the upcoming year. Several different sources have suggested some manner of a spiritual development plan for your family: prayers to do, observances to keep (like no-meat Fridays!), Catholic movies or books to consume… even as far as to create a Family Mission Statement that encompasses what your family wants to be about spiritually.
Do you want to help the poor? Then your family mission statement should say so and you should take actions during the year to help the poor. Do you want to deepen your faith? Then you might focus on watching spiritual movies and reading more books this year. This is particularly valuable if you have children that are old enough to participate as well so you can help them develop their understanding of the faith better.
What’s this do for you: this helps you act as the spiritual head of the family. This will help you get “on the same page” as your spouse, lead your children with a proper formation, and provide a great example for other families.
Spiritual Development for your Community
You can apply this same concept to your parish or Church community as well. A great example of this is participating in social programs that are designed to bring people together to discuss their faith and evangelize together. I am positive that your parish probably has more events than you know of going on, so check with your parish priest or activities director to find out what you can do to get involved.
If you happen to be in a rare parish that doesn’t have anything going on, you can increase your spiritual development by simply attending Mass more, or attending your normal Mass and taking one step out of your way to speak to parishoners around you after Mass. You might make a friend and get to know someone better! Some Churches even run evangelization programs, where you can learn how to effectively share your faith with others.
What’s this do for you: These activities help you get out beyond your own perspective and share the Faith with others. You’d be surprised how much you can learn if you just talk to some other members of the parish. They might know people in need, or be involved in an interesting program, or simply want to discuss today’s Gospel with you. It’s all good for you and good for the Church community.
I hope that some of these ideas help you to celebrate Easter and carry on deepening your Faith all throughout the year!