Does anyone else get to the end of Christmastide and immediately start thinking about Lent? I think all those sweet treats and cheese platters get me craving a little austerity! Since I started thinking about Lent 2021, I’ve felt God asking me to use that time to pray for my marriage in a special way. To be honest, I’ve become very lazy about praying for my marriage, despite being reminded to every time I go to Confession, so I think it’s time for a reset. I really like to have a clear plan/structure for this kind of prayer intention, and I thought some readers of this blog might like to do something similar.
Ash Wednesday – First Sunday of Lent (17th-21st Feb) – Thanksgiving – I’m so often praying in petition for my marriage that I forget to give thanks to God for it: for the sacrament, for the grace I’ve seen at work in it, for the ways it has helped me grow closer to God, for all the qualities my husband has as a spouse and a father. I think it sets a good disposition of the heart to start out in thanksgiving.
Lent week 1 (22nd-28th Feb) – My vocation as a wife – I don’t know about you, but I find that when I think about the ways I’d like my marriage to be different or better then I’m generally focusing on changes I’d like to see in my husband. During the first full week of Lent, I will pray for my vocation as a wife, that I strive for holiness, and that my goal is the salvation of my husband’s and children’s souls.
Lent week 2 (1st-7th March) – My husband’s vocation – One of the hard things about being in a mixed marriage is that the other spouse likely does not even recognise marriage as a vocation. During this week I will pray that my husband will be open to the working’s of God’s grace through the sacrament of marriage, and that his vocation will help him to reach Heaven – even if he doesn’t realise it.
Lent week 3 (8th March-14th March) – Conversion – Presumably anybody reading this blog desire’s their spouse’s conversion! During this week, I will pray in a particular way for my husband’s conversion. When praying for this intention, I like to keep the focus on praying for his soul to reach Heaven, even if it doesn’t happen in my lifetime. This should be the goal, rather than for him to convert in order to make my life easier/more comfortable.
Lent week 4 (15th March-21st March) – Openness to life – For almost every person I’ve spoken to in mixed marriage, NFP is the real “thorn in the side” of the marriage. In most respects, the Catholic spouse can live and practice their faith unhindered by a spouse who does not share their beliefs. However, NFP requires both spouses to be on the same page, and in most mixed marriages, this does not happen. I can admit that if often feels like it would take a miracle for my husband to truly embrace NFP – that is to say, not just to forego artificial contraception but to be genuinely open to life. However, God can work miracles if we entrust Him with our deepest desires!
Lent week 5 (22nd March-28th March) – Sacramental marriage everywhere – After having prayed for my own marriage, I will turn my prayer outwards in petition for the world to make a return to a sacramental understanding of marriage. Sadly, marriage has become disposable the eyes of the world, just like so many other things: human life, the environment, familial relationships… During this week I will pray for marriage to be recognised as sacred and indissoluble.
Lent week 6 (29th March-3rd April) – Thanksgiving – In the final week of Lent, I will pray once more in thanksgiving for my marriage, and for the graces that God has granted through this time of prayer.
There are many ways you could pray for these intentions. I will be praying a daily rosary, but you could also pray a divine mercy chaplet, offer sacrifices for these intentions, spend time in mental prayer… whatever works for you! Wishing each of you a holy and fruitful Lent.