This Lent will be different for me than typical recent years, as I am on maternity leave and will not go back to work until Holy Week. While I do not have obligations related to my career in teacher education, my schedule is shaped by being deeply immersed in family life, so I am taking that into consideration as I envision my lenten days. After having my husband home for a couple of weeks to support the transition of welcoming our baby, as the liturgical year shifts into Lent this week, my husband will be back to work.
Though it will be busy and it will not always be easy, I want to savor the extra time with my girls as the two who are typically in daycare will instead be home with me. I have also been homeschooling our first grader, so this time will be about finding new rhythms that work for us during this season. Our oldest two were recently able to go back to in person instruction – every other day, so I will have their help when they are home as well. During this season, it will be all about seeing this time together as a gift. My focus will be on quality time together and nurturing their growth.
Ideally, I would like to have some sense of consistency with prayer woven back in. When I welcome a newborn, that always throws my typical prayer routines temporarily. I am hoping that during the season of Lent, I will be able to transition back to having my 5 am prayer to start the day and re-integrate the 8:30 pm Rosary that I started not too long before the baby was born. Nonetheless, I know that I am still in a season that might require days where this does not work out based on the baby’s needs and will need to be flexible.
With that context in mind, here are my initial intentions for resources to shape my prayer and growth during this lenten season:
Consecration to St. Joseph: Though not technically a lenten intention, I will begin the consecration to St. Joseph on February 15 (two days before the start of Lent) and concluding on the Solemnity of St. Joseph on March 19 (a little over a week from Holy Week). Recognizing that the consecration timeline will span most of the lenten season, I wanted to take it into consideration when intentionally selecting resources and thinking about what will be feasible and sustainable. Last year I prayed through the Consecration to Jesus through St. Joseph: An Integrated Look at the Holy Family by Dr. Gregory Botarro and Jen Settle. I am looking forward to revisiting and digging deeper into the life of St. Joseph through Fr. Donald Calloway’s Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father.
Though I did not officially choose a Saint for the Year, the Holy Family has been a thread woven throughout the year so far, especially as I contemplate my role as a wife and mom and consider implications for our life. This resource will be my top priority during Lent. I do not yet have a set time in mind to integrate this into my days, but I will likely keep the book beside my rocking chair and read it while nursing whenever I have an opportunity to do so in silence – likely either during my 2 year old’s nap time, the evening, or anytime during days when my older girls are at home.
Set a Fire: My second priority for the lenten season is the Blessed is She resource, Set a Fire: The Catholic Lent Devotional for Women. Ideally, I will be able to incorporate this into my days in a similar way as I did their Advent devotional – during my 5 am prayer time – if the baby settles into a schedule of sleeping during that time. Since the devotional has some journaling days, it is ideal if I can complete this when I am not holding the baby. I anticipate that I will be able to sustain praying through this resource (even if the timing day to day needs to be flexible) because each day is typically fairly short.
This Present Paradise: If possible, I would also like to read This Present Paradise: A Spiritual Journey with St. Elizabeth of the Trinity alongside the Abiding Together podcast. I am drawn to this resource because I love the podcast but also because it links to the concept of personal vocation. Last fall I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in a personal vocation seminar through Franciscan University and am looking forward to continuing to explore through this book. I will likely also read this during times when I am nursing the baby. Because I am unsure of whether I will be able to sustain praying through all three resources, my plan is to go into Lent knowing that I may or may not be able to follow the schedule that Abiding Together has set up for this lenten study. Instead, I have sticky notes marking the podcast dates and correlating chapters. In the event that I am not able to stick to the schedule, I will simply delay listening to the podcast episode until I have had a chance to read the section. This helps to relieve the pressure of trying to make too many different pieces to work. Having a plan but leaving space for flexibility ended up being necessary with my Advent intentions as well. I ended up needing to make adjustments along the way.
Copyright 2021 Amanda Villagómez // Photo by Amanda Villagómez