Hard to believe but tomorrow is Ash Wednesday

Have you thought about the way you plan to observe Lent? We are all pretty good at fasting and almsgiving but, sometimes, Lenten prayer is challenging. One has really has to stop and take time to think about that, particularly when it comes to prayer with the family

Here is an idea for your consideration: the Stations of the Cross. Wait, you might say. Mom and Dad have meetings to attend; someone else has sports activities; still another member of the family is in a play and has rehearsals. How are all of us going to get to church on the same evening and at the same time? Right

This is what I am thinking. If you can't get to your parish church for the Stations, bring the Stations home—the version that St. John Paul II commissioned in 1991. You'll find on them here. These Stations are linked to specific passages of Scripture, so you'll need your Bible. Next, sit down with or text everyone in the family to look for a common half-hour two or three times a week. Maybe Skype-ing can be allowed

When you are all together, say the opening prayers, then focus on just one Station and read the Scripture passage attached to it. Give family members some time to think about what they have heard. If they want to say something, that's fine. If not, put no pressure on them. Are they going to giggle and maybe roll their eyes? Maybe. Will someone be sneaking a look at a mobile screen? Perhaps. Are some members going to bail? Probably, but stay the course. By the time you reach the solemn days of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, you will have exposed the family to the Passion narratives of the New Testament and to the habit of spending prayerful time with Sacred Scripture

PS. Someone may comment that in these so-called Pope John Paul Stations, Jesus' encounter with Veronica and her veil is absent, along with his three falls, and the meeting with his mother. You can explain that these events are not in the evangelists' accounts of Jesus' death and that the pope wanted people to pray with the actual Scriptural accounts. Not to worry. The traditional version, which most churches feature, is still acceptable.