It is the time of Lent, a period for the reunion with God and prepare our hearts to receive his Son Jesus. To learn more about Lent for children, explanation, what it is, characteristics, and more, go to this article where we will tell you everything about this topic
Lent for children
Lent is the time during which we celebrate together with the Church, the feasts of the Lord, the Virgin and all Saints. That is, the holidays of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter, for which believers prepare, and thus live together with Jesus, the passion, death and resurrection, which is remembered in Holy Week or Major Week.
How long is Lent?
As its name indicates, this period lasts forty days, and during all that time the fervent Catholic believers prepare to maintain and develop a lifestyle, as true children of God. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, and from there the forty days that end on Holy Saturday pass.
But many children will wonder why Lent lasts forty days, and the reason for that time is very simple. In the biblical accounts, it is written that Jesus spent forty days in the desert, reflecting on his death and resurrection.
For children who do not know it yet, Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and ends on Easter or Resurrection Sunday. It is a time when you must experience, live together with your relatives in peace, tranquility, recollection and serenity.
Ask your parents, that together they can make a change of attitude at home, that the transformation that is lived in those days really takes place, and that was the one lived by Jesus. Attend the Lenten celebrations for children , which take place in the Church of your community, and find Jesus in your heart these days.
What children should know
Even for adults the meaning of Lent is somewhat complicated, after two thousand years. That is why it is recommended that the most relevant information about Lent be sent to children of ages who can understand its importance, for the preservation and dissemination of the Catholic faith.
It is on this day that Easter begins, and it is celebrated immediately after the carnival. Masses are celebrated in Catholic Churches, and in which the priests make a cross on people’s foreheads, with ashes. This cross represents the mercy of the Lord
The cross with ashes that the priest makes on our foreheads reminds us how mortal the human being is. That is, we were created with dust and when we die, we become dust again. It is not recommended to extend much in the explanations regarding this point, since the idea is that the children know a little more about this Catholic tradition.
For a greater understanding and meaningful learning, by children, use drawings, graphs or videos, which serve as didactic support.
Lent for children: Palm Sunday, Jesus visits Jerusalem
For all Catholic girls and boys, it is important to keep in mind that on Palm Sunday, a very important event occurs in the life of Jesus. He, along with a group of friends and followers, is on his way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover festival, which is remembered when the people of Israel are freed from slavery in Egypt.
This Easter celebration is remembered especially, because it was the last one that he could celebrate next to his friends and his disciples. Jesus, for a long time, was touring a large part of his country, devoting much of his time to teaching the word of his Father God, he healed many sick people, he also spent many hours listening and forgiving the sins of repentant people of heart
His popularity grew greater, throughout the country; many people recognized him as the messiah, the man that God had sent them to free them from the hardships they were going through. When the people of Jerusalem found out that Jesus had arrived, they went to the roads to receive him with branches in their hands, to greet him with joy.
In a single cry the whole town said loudly:
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the high!
Blessed be the God of Israel!
Lent for children: Holy Monday, Jesus goes to the temple
After resting on Sunday for the exhausting journey, Jesus approaches the temple, which was full of pilgrims who came from all over the country, also from abroad to participate in the festivities. When Jesus arrived at the temple he was very upset, since there were many vendors outside and inside the temple and people were more dedicated to shopping than to praying.
Such was the indignation of Jesus, that he threw their tables and tarantines out of the temple, and expelled them from the place, and spoke to them in a very loud tone, while telling them with great force: Get this out of here, do not make the house of my Father, a market! , and he also reminded them of the following: “It is written, My house will be a house of prayer!”
Holy Tuesday: Jesus teaches in the temple
Jesus decides that he should go to the temple in Jerusalem again, but this time he does it to teach all those who participated in the festivities that took place on those days. He told them about the importance of always being prepared to go before the Lord when he comes at the end of time.
His intention was to remind them that they could trust their words with their eyes closed, because they will never go out of style, and that everything they hold in their hearts must be to the liking of God.
At sunset that day, Jesus went up to the Mount of Olives, where he prayed and prostrated himself on the ground to rest from the task of teaching.
Holy Wednesday: Jesus tells his disciples about his death
Long before this day arrived, Jesus had commented to Peter, James, John, and the rest of the disciples, how afflicted he was, because he already sensed that his death was approaching. And before such prediction it cannot be denied, because that prophecy had to be fulfilled, as God had said.
The disciples did not really understand what was happening, they did not quite understand how it was that Jesus’ death was drawing near. During the talk that he had with them, a voice came out of the sky that said:
“And I have glorified it and will glorify it again”
The disciples were surprised, they came to think that it was just thunder, and others affirmed that it was the voice of an angel. His friends and followers did not want Jesus to die, and they reminded him that according to the law he had taught them, the Messiah would never die.
Jesus with a very sweet voice, told them, how important it was that he died so that all the people of the world could be saved. And at the end of the sun of the day, Jesus retired to a quiet place to pray.
Lent for children, the day of food
Jesus, through the celebration of this meal, teaches us that we must always be ready to serve people. In addition to the fact that he would always be present among us, in the bread and wine that is consecrated in the Eucharist.
Holy Thursday: The special meal
This day, by instructions of Jesus, a place is available to celebrate with his disciples a great banquet, the last supper among friends. Already ready the evening and before starting to have dinner, Jesus grabbed a container and a towel to wash the feet of his disciples, some opposed; but He told them, that if they did not allow him, he would not consider them his friends.
Holy Thursday is known as the Last Supper, where Jesus broke bread and shared wine with his disciples. On this occasion, Jesus made his disciples know that they should love and help each other.
“Dear brothers, let us love one another; because love is from God. Everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. He who does not love has not known God; because God is love.
In this the love of God was shown towards us, in that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
Good Friday: Jesus has died on the Cross
Once the supper celebration was over, Jesus set out to walk to the Mount of Olives to pray alone. While there, he is imprisoned and his friends flee fearful of suffering the same as Jesus. He is quickly put on trial and sentenced to death, just for recognizing that he was the Messiah, the son of God.
He is whipped, during his journey through the streets of the city, with a cross on his shoulders. He is nailed hands and feet, at noon before he died Jesus said these words:
“Father, in your hands I entrust my spirit”
The sky became very dark, as the sun was hidden by darkness, and there was a loud noise in the sky. The son of God gave his life for all of us, both children and adults so that our sins might be forgiven, and in this way the will of God was fulfilled.
Holy Saturday: The sheltered tomb
Some Jewish people, representatives of the chief priests and Pharisees, went very early on Saturday morning to Governor Pilate’s house to ask him to send some soldiers to guard the tomb of Jesus. Because they feared and suspected that the disciples of Jesus would take his body, and then say that he had risen, as he had announced.
Pilate, to please them, sent some soldiers to guard the tomb. The disciples and friends of the Messiah, remained together and were very confused, with everything that had happened. They were sad because Jesus had been crucified. This day passed in absolute silence, and they took advantage of it to reflect, and try to find new hope.
Resurrection Sunday: He is risen, Jesus is not here
Even the relatives, friends and disciples were very sad about the death of Jesus. It was Sunday, very early in the morning, in the distance and very shy you could see the sun, Mary Magdalene, Salome, and other women were preparing to go to the tomb of Jesus, with the intention of cleaning his body, wrapping it and perfuming it; It was a pending task.
During the journey, they considered who they would ask for help, to be able to move the stone that served as the entrance door, in the tomb of Jesus. Very close to the place, they were surprised, since the stone was not in its place, it had been moved. Without much thought, they ran back to find Peter and some of the other disciples. When they were back in the company of the people they went to look for, they realized that Jesus was not inside the tomb either.
Inside the tomb there was only the blanket with which they wrapped Jesus. They all returned to the town, but Mary Magdalene stayed in the place. At that moment, Jesus appeared to her, but she believed that she was someone else. Then Jesus said to her: “Mary!”, and she was able to recognize the voice of the Lord and answered: “Master”.
Without giving it much thought, Mary Magdalene immediately ran to town to tell the disciples what had happened. It is the resurrection of Jesus, the best news that they could give us, and the best news that you can share with friends and family. We invite you to be a multiplier of the good news, of the Lenten news for children in your community.
Lent for children and some activities they can do
Lent is a time marked by prayer, sharing and penance. Parents and children as a family can live unique experiences during this period.
Lenten fast for children
Par excellence, Lent is reserved for the practice of fasting. And this term is not exclusively referred to, to stop eating or to do it in less quantity. However, it has a broader meaning, for example, we need to deprive ourselves of some treats, to spend more time offering love and understanding to others.
Here are some examples of fasting that you can practice at home:
- Avoid eating sweets.
- Try not to sleep late, and instead spend more time helping Mom with the housework.
- Attend charitable activities organized in your community.
- Dress your grandparents, so you can brighten up their afternoon.
- Cook food as a family.
- Tell your parents to take you to mass, before doing any other activity.
- Try to pray every night, before sleeping.
Pray as a family
In order to strengthen Catholic values, it is essential to take advantage of the time of Lent to establish a moment of family prayer, at any time of the day, but preferably when everyone is together. It is a good time to read a prayer book, to sing new songs, or to tell religious stories. The moment of prayer can also be an opportunity to forgive each other.
Each member of the family is free to choose the sacrifices they want to make during Lent. However, making a family sacrifice is ideal to unite the members of the nucleus, and generates healthy imitation. Each child and adult in the family can imagine some appropriate sacrifice to help identify how this will help the family move forward on the Lenten journey.
Lent in solidarity
An idea that children love is being able to participate, together with the rest of their family members, in the Lenten fund that is organized in their parish community. Where grape harvests are carried out to collect funds to help the most dispossessed people in the sector where they live.
During Lent, the guardian angel game can be organized, which will last the forty days of Lent. It consists of writing each of the names of the members of the family nucleus, in small squares of paper and then each one chooses a piece of paper at random.
In this way, each of the participants becomes the guardian angel of the person who has touched him. And they have to be aware of the needs, concerns of that person, make their life easier and more enjoyable. But it is very important that that person does not discover who their guardian angel is.
The three Lenten practices
- The one that begins the Lenten practice is prayer, through it the child or the adult can establish an encounter with God. Using the power of prayer correctly, the Christian can establish a dialogue with God, and allow grace to enter our hearts. Just like the Virgin Mary, he opens himself to action together with the Holy Spirit, to give a free and generous response to our prayers.
“Then Mary said: Behold the servant of the Lord; be done to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her”.
- Mortification is the second practice, and this is done daily and without the need for you to make great sacrifices, as a child. Through it, you offer Jesus those moments that cause you discomfort, and you accept them with great humility and joy.
- The third Lenten practice is charity and it is very present in the hearts of men, especially children. It produces great joy when it is given fully and without expecting anything in return.
Emilly Stefan The Fear lab was an American author of young adult novels, most known for her fantasy series, Age of the Seventh Sun.