Bear with me. We have a journey to make. It starts out rather easily:
My oldest hates coloring. Maybe I should get the coloring book for him as a penance.
For the colouring books for Lent, one way to remove the element of fun, would be to limit the colour selection to three. After the child picks his favorite colours, only give him three different coloured crayons.
This in response to my admonition that everything doesn't need to be fun and that really, Lent is not about fun, it is about aligning ourselves with the suffering of Jesus.
But Stations of the Cross coloring books are fine by me, in full color, with the whole box of crayons. I'm sorry for the confusion. It isn't the coloring books to which I object, but simply how they are advertised as a "fun" way to teach children about Christ's Passion.
I think the truth is that Stations of the Cross coloring books are rather a child's version of meditative prayer. A little kid has to look at that picture, understand on some level what's going on, and choose colors to illuminate the reality or the sentiment.
Let me put it this way, as a little girl I LOVED to color. I loved a big boxes of crayons, I was always disappointed when the original tip wore off because the crayon sharpeners were never as good. I loved choosing colors. I loved everything about it.
And now, as an adult, I love to embroider. Why? Because it's like coloring with thread! I love looking at the amazing array of threads and I love all the old time dancing dishes and singing bananas patterns. I don't get to do it very often, with all of my other duties and prayers and church and school. But when I do, it's always a gift I'm making for someone, and the whole time I'm sewing away, I'm thinking of that person. It just comes with the territory.
I have to imagine that that is what happens in a child's brain when he is coloring a picture of Jesus on His way to Calvary. And essentially, that is meditative prayer.
If we were Buddhists, when we mediate, we would try to empty our minds. But we're Catholics. When we meditate we try to fill our minds with thoughts of Jesus, His life and work, the people around Him, the times in which He lived and what we can glean from that and gain from that and how we can become like that.
Which brings us to part II of our journey:
Time to show my ignorance,what exactly do you do for the stations of the cross. I know it's got to be more than just walking around looking at the pictures and thinking about what they represent - but what is it?
Thank you in advance
First, get yourself a little Stations of the Cross booklet. There are prayers to say in there and usually there are points on which to meditate. That should get you going. But it's perfectly fine for you to stand in front of that picture and color in the details, the sounds and smells, the emotion and the pain. And then you think about how and why that happened and your part in today's world of pain or the pain in your own soul.
Which brings us to part three. Which is pretty involved. Tomorrow.