Lenten Reflections for Families
from the Department of Christian Education
For each week of Great Lent, the Department of Christian Education (DCE) has chosen a saint who is commemorated that week, and whose life offers some points for reflection. Families (or anyone who wishes to) can read the brief account of the life, note the saint's connection to people or events in the Bible, and reflect on the questions and thoughts offered. Some of these saints are familiar; others perhaps less so. A general and very simple review of all six saints' stories is offered at the end.
Bible verses are taken from the Revised Standard Version; please have a Bible ready to look up passages. In the texts for each saint, suggested answers to some of the reflection questions are included. These can be shared after participants have offered their own answers.
The Department of Christian Education hopes this series of reflections will enrich the Lenten experience of families and readers.
Week 1: Saint Nikolai of Zicha
Born in 1880 to pious farmers in the small Serbian village of Lelich, Nikolai Velimirovich received his early education at the local Chelije Monastery. He then attended the Seminary of Saint Sava in Belgrade. His brilliant mind enabled him to go on to undertake doctoral studies at Berne, Switzerland and at Oxford.
Week 2: The Annunciation
The Mother of God, the Theotokos, the God-Bearer: all these are names of the holy woman we thank for saying "yes" to God and for willingly becoming the Mother of His Son, Jesus Christ, when He took a body and became Man for our salvation. She was prepared for this from childhood, spending time around the Temple in worship and prayer, learning the ways of God. Her parents, Joachim and Anna, were devout, humble people who raised her in the same way.
Week 3: Saint Mary of Egypt
The beloved Saint Mary of Egypt ran away from her home at the age of twelve. It was probably an unhappy home, and Mary spent the next years trying to enjoy herself in any way she could. Perhaps she thought living this way would bring her happiness, but it didn't do so.
Week 4: Saint Niphon, Bishop of Novgorod
Saint Niphon was a monk of the Kiev Caves who lived in the tenth century. He served as the Bishop of Novgorod, located in northwestern Russia. Novgorod is Russia's oldest city.
Week 5: Sts. Vasilissa and Anastasia of Rome
These two Roman women were converted to Christianity by Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and went on to be students of those two apostles. Their faith was strong, because it was based on the solid truth preached by the earliest followers of Jesus Christ.
Week 6: Saint Luke the Evangelist
When we read through the New Testament, we may not realize that almost one-fourth of the text is the writing of Saint Luke. He is one of the four evangelists, or Gospel writers. He is also one of the seventy apostles who were sent out, in pairs, by Jesus to preach and teach. Saint Luke is not one of the original twelve apostles who accompanied the Lord in His ministry.
General Review Questions with Answers
A general and very simple review (answers are given at the end).