When I was a young mom with four kids under the age of six, I had one emotion: OVERWHELM.
I distinctly remember wanting to wear make-up or exercise or plant flowers. Mostly, I had a baby attached at the hip or the breast and toddlers in various stages of mess and undress.
SO, when I would hear of a mother and how she had created this beautiful Easter project for her two angelic kids, I would have this instant envy.
Then I’d feel defeated.
I just couldn’t muster up the energy or grace to do beauty.
But I still wanted to honor Jesus and His Agony and Glorious Resurrection. I wanted to TEACH my children.
So I stumbled upon this one idea and we have used it ever since that time.
For three hours on Good Friday, from noon til three, we maintain silence in our home.
I may or may not have started this as a way to maintain a little sanity, but it has definitely transformed into something bigger and better than that!
First, I had to teach the kids WHY we wanted to maintain silence. This is what I say every year: Jesus died for us. We are a busy people in a busy world, filled with many things to do and see. We don’t make or take the time to pray like we should.
We just don’t.
As a Christian, I believe that Jesus was tortured and that He walked the way of the Cross. I believe He was nailed to the Cross. I believe He hung in agony on that cross for three hours, from noon until three in the afternoon.
I tell my babies, “Today we are going to pull back from our ordinary lives and we are going to allow the reality of the Crucifixion to enter into our busy lives. FOR THREE HOURS we will maintain silence in this home and hopefully, we can more or less keep Jesus company with our minds and hearts.”
My kids understand it all. They enter in. It’s not a dramatic thing, it’s just our thing.
Now, you gotta know, on some years, I am lax and just tell them to be quiet for three hours. Other years I actually shepherd my little sheep and download pictures of the crucifixion that they can color. I get out our rosary coloring books. I HELP them enter into silence.
Entering into Good Friday:
They can listen to music but it must be with headphones and probably shouldn’t be punk rock.
They can nap.
They can draw.
They can pray the rosary.
They can read scripture.
They can quietly pray.
They can read a good book.
On my focused years, I ask questions. How would you like to honor Jesus in those three hours? What could you read that would bring you closer to Him?
We end the three hours with a Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3:00, either at home or at church.
At first this idea seemed radical. How would I pull it off with toddlers? Well, it was a bit chaotic, with much whispering and “Mommy, I am quiet! Look at me!” going on.
But over the years, it has become this nice ritual. They watch the clock. It strikes noon. They find their quiet places. They pull back out of the busy.
I’m not sure what goes on in their brains and hearts, but that’s between them and God. It’s my (somewhat easy) job to help them create the space to make the transaction happen.
P.S. Remember that the Divine Mercy Novena begins on Good Friday. We love this novena. As in LOVE LOVE LOVE it. For more info go to this post, Divine Mercy Novena.