Catholic Activity: Lenten Resolutions
Understanding the meaning of Lent is the basis of our resolutions. Our actions should not only be negative (as in giving up something), but also positive actions (charitable acts, etc.). Here is an explanation of Lent and sacrifices, and how to use sacrifice beads like St. Therese.
Therese Mueller likens Lent to spring: "Spring occupies a very important place in the life of the tiller of the soil; as far as man is concerned, spring decides what the crop will be. Similarly in the life of grace, Lent holds an almost decisive position. (Lent is but another word for spring). The more carefully we put away the deeds of winter, the 'dead' deeds, the deeper we plow in order that the new seed may find a well-prepared soil enriched with the good deeds of fasting and prayer, the more shall we enjoy the vigorous plants thatwill spring up and the abundance of the harvest . . . Just as Nature renews herself every spring, so during the Church's spring we are encouraged to begin anew with the catechumens. We prepare for the renewal of our baptism, we suffer with Christ for our sins, we are buried with Him so that we may also arise with Him to a new life of grace and glory" (Family Life in Christ, p. 19-20).
LENTEN RESOLUTIONS: The sacrifices which are made during Lent and Advent should not be merely negative — giving things up. One might suggest to the children that they make secret offerings to Jesus which will be known only to Him and to them. St. Therese of the Infant Jesus, when she was a child, made use of some "sacrifice beads" (Soeur Therese of Lisieux, The Little Flower of Jesus, p. 38). All that is needed is a string of about 10 beads, (a medal at one end is helpful) and something to move from one bead to the next, for example, a small rubber band. Every time the child does something for Jesus, she moves the marker to the next bead. Soon, like St. Therese, she will be "putting her hand into her pocket a hundred times a day to count her sacrifices" (Piat, S., OFM, The Story of a Family, p. 215). Eventually, the child will "graduate" to the stage of doing all for the love of Jesus, with or without beads.
Activity Source: How to Make Your House a Home by Rev. Bernard Stokes, O.F.M., Family Life Bureau, Washington D.C., 1955