Almost-empty-nester Kathy Perusek has found new ways to grow closer to God during Lent.
As this Lent approached, I thought about how I could make it meaningful and grow stronger in my faith and closer to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. With Covid still in the picture and living with all the related sufferings and daily annoyances, I could be tempted to say that is enough sacrificing for me to offer up, yet when I look at Jesus, on the cross, I know He deserves all the sacrifices and offerings of love that I can give Him.
So, I decided, first of all, to offer the sacrifices that already come with my state in life, as a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend, and employee. I work part-time, yet I am available any time the other nurse needs me to work late for her. I still have a son at home, who is a Senior in high school and needs my occasional help or a meal. And a large part of each week I spend my time, along with one of my sisters, looking after my dad, who is cognitively impaired, and lives alone. I can do my daily duties, generously, with a willing heart, and a big smile!
Since they reopened our church, after Easter, I was so grateful to be able to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, that I have been going to daily Mass and monthly Confession. I surely have enough intentions to take to Jesus, between praying for my husband, children, and grandchildren. I also pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet daily and have scheduled weekly Holy Hours at our adoration chapel. In my spare time, and at bedtime, I also enjoy listening to podcasts from Virgin Most Powerful Radio. Still, I wanted to do something more, for Jesus, without burning out.
During Lent we focus on prayer, fasting and almsgiving. I decided to give up sweets, going to get fast food, and drinking alcohol. I have chosen to increase my donations to charity as well as friends in need. I also want to give of my time, and a listening ear to anyone who needs to talk. And for added prayer, I am using a book, Let Freedom Ring, written by Fr. James Altman, Fr. Richard Heilman, and Fr. William Peckman. This book incorporates some of the prayers I am already doing and offers some meaningful reflections.
Finally, I have felt the Lord prompting me, week after week, to invite some women over, Saturday mornings, for a rosary group, to pray for our Church and country. I go to Adoration Saturday mornings from 1 to 3 AM, then wake up for 830 AM Mass, so this impacts my sleep. I scheduled the group at 930 AM. I invited 24 people to the first meeting, and on short notice, one person showed up. I figured God would send whoever He wanted to be there, and we had a blessed time, talking and praying! God calls be to be obedient, not successful, so I can’t look at the numbers.
Years ago, I had prayed that I could get by on little sleep, like St. Padre Pio, who only slept four hours a night! I wanted to be like him and have more time available to do God’s work, though most nights I still get more than four hours. God is clearly doing for me what I could never do for myself! When I was a young mom, raising my seven children, I would not have been able to miss out on any more sleep. God gives us different seasons in life. I remember when my fourth child, Hope was a baby, and my older kids were in school, I was able to walk over to Mass, with her, on weekday mornings, after dropping my older children off at school. She was a quiet baby, and the daily Mass trips lasted until my son, David, who was a little more rambunctious, came along a few years later.
My intent is to share ideas, yet I know I am some of our readers are young moms, raising families, whose precious time is limited. When my family was young, I added in extra reading and videos for the kids. I would give up something for Lent and sometimes, the best I could do was to offer up my sufferings and sacrifices in each moment. The years raced by in a flurry! Our God is so good, He meets us where we are at, and accepts our prayers and sacrifices, offered from our heart.
Lent offers us an opportunity to draw closer to Jesus, and our children will benefit from our example. Best of all, our Easter celebration will be so much more special!
What small thing can I do to make my Lent and Easter more meaningful?
Copyright 2021 Kathy Perusek
Images (from top): Canva Pro, all others copyright 2021 Kathy Perusek. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Kathy Perusek is a mother of seven children, and a grandmother. She was a stay-at-home mom until her oldest child graduated college. Kathy then returned to school, earning associate degrees in nursing and arts. She worked as an RN in a hospital, then for hospice; currently, she works in a pediatric practice. She is a former La Leche League leader and enjoys reading, singing, and babysitting.