The first idea started at a group discussion with a bunch of DREs and was just confirmed by reading this list. We all know that there are huge benefits to having a family meal. It really doesn’t matter so much what you serve as how it happens:
- at a table,
- no cell phones,
- television off.
My proposal here is to celebrate Lent with at least one extra family meal per week meeting these criteria.
Family members truly bless one another when they create a nurturing place around the dinner table for communion and conversation to occur and when they take time to plan nourishing, heartwarming meals. Tons of research reveals the benefits of families sitting down to meals together including everything from better physical and mental health outcomes, higher academic achievement, and greater life and relationship satisfaction. Add “growing in holiness” to the list!
My other idea sounds pretty silly but I’m convinced it would help me to better appreciate my parish family. Every Sunday my family sits in the 4th, 5th or 6th pew from the front, just to the left of the main aisle. Every single Sunday. In my defense, I like the view of the altar and the lady in front of me kneels for a long time after Communion, just like I do. It’s comfortable.
On the other hand, it is a little disturbing to meet “new” people who have gone to the same Mass for years and years, and it makes me wonder what would happen if I just sat on the left side of the aisle or in the back. I suspect I would start to recognize some different faces and would be forced to focus on the Mass in a new way – not out of my established habits. So while it may be the lamest Lenten resolution ever, my second outside-the-box idea is to move around each Sunday of Lent and see what the Lord has to tell you through the experience.