It is often tempting, when the months roll by, to buy things to decorate our homes. We splurge on items to help us feel happier during the dark days of winter. We justify another item because it’s from a dollar store. Whether we need them or not, things seem to beckon to us.
As the season of Lent approaches, let’s carve out a few moments to be mindful of the reason for this penitential time. The other penitential time, Advent, is full of joy-filled expectation. But Lent is different. It’s more somber, watchful, serious.
“Lent is like a long ‘retreat’ during which we can turn back into
ourselves and listen to the voice of God, in order to defeat the
temptations of the Evil One.”
Pope Benedict XVI
As we turn our attention to Lent, we need to remember the call to pray, fast, and give alms. It’s what we “do”. Further, we need to set our sights on refocusing ourselves spiritually. We need to “be” in a process of continual conversion to grow closer to God.
This Lent let’s do a little realignment. Let’s strive to make our inner life and outer surroundings more congruent. Here are 4 ways Catholics can make their homes more prayerful this Lent:
1. Turn Down the Noise and Become Acquainted with Silence during Lent
We know there are many things competing for our attention. Lent is the perfect time to work on turning down the noise. Many people are used to electronic devices buzzing or dinging notification sounds. First, practice silencing those for 30 to 60 minutes.
Second, create a quiet time in your home several times a week, or even daily, when TV, music, and other devices are shut off. For some people this will be uncomfortable, but it is during these times when God whispers in our hearts and calls us to Himself.
2. Create Austerity in Your Home
Typically, we “dress up” our homes and decorate. Lent is an opportunity to create a more austere look and feel. We don’t necessarily have to remove things to be uncomfortable, but we can follow the example we see in our churches for Lent.
Try removing or covering vibrant art in your living space. Remove any statues or icons you have from prominent places or cover them. This act is a reminder about how empty life can be without Christ.
3. Create a prayer space on your dining table or in a prominent place
It may seem counter-intuitive to create a space after the suggestion of removing or covering things up, but it’s the other side of the same coin.
Removing things that are colorful and decorative and replacing them with things that are reminders of waiting, penance, and suffering can help us. If we are to have a conversion of heart, we need to change something.
Your table prayer space does not have to be creative and expensive. Perhaps pick up a small bag of sand from a craft store and put it in a bowl as a reminder of Christ’s time in the desert. Bring in a dry branch from outdoors to remind you that after death comes resurrection.
Place a crucifix, nails, or woven crown among those things as a reminder of Christ’s suffering for you. Take care not to use white candles in your prayer space. White is for the Resurrection and Jesus, the Light of the World. You can save those for later.
4. Use More Purple
Both Advent and Lent use purple as the liturgical color. However, Advent’s purple shade has more blue and Lent is more solidly purple. This color represents both penance and royalty. Jesus is both the lamb that was sacrificed in atonement for our sins, and Christ the King.
Use more purple in your home as a reminder of Christ’s love and sacrifice for you, and of His Power. Try a purple tablecloth or napkins. Light purple candles in your prayer space. You can even get creative and use purple as a background for your phone or computer to redirect your senses for these 40 days.
While Fasting from Food during Lent, Feed Your Soul with the Spiritual Nourishment of Catholic Radio
During this time of giving up food or things, don’t forget to tune in to Catholic radio. You will glean more tips for making this Lent a fruitful one, and perhaps God will use one of our programs to speak to your converting heart.
In particular, we invite you to tune in to Holy Mass, Sermons for Everyday Living, and Divine Mercy in My Soul. You may also find our Prayers podcasts to be helpful since they are on demand.