Lent is a very trying time of penance and sacrifice, remembering our deaths and the death of Christ, and preparing ourselves to receive everlasting life. It’s easy to feel discouraged and downtrodden or to be so overwhelmed that you don’t even know where to start!
But did you know, some of our favorite Disney princesses have some ideas to keep you going through this Lent? Here are some of our favorite princesses and their Lenten ideas!
Belle – Take on penance to alleviate the suffering of others
Belle offered herself in place of her father at the Beast’s castle because he was an old, sick man. We can take on extra prayers or penances as offerings to alleviate the sufferings of others, too. Perhaps praying a rosary for all sick people or a Divine Mercy Chaplet for those who struggle with addictions or fasting for peace in war-torn countries.
Snow White – Meditate on your death
Snow White was pursued by a huntsman and the evil queen who wanted to kill her out of jealousy and she lived knowing that death might come for her at any moment. However, she didn’t fear death. Snow White lived her life as fully as she could and didn’t fear the possibilities.
Memento mori – remember your death. This is something to especially consider during Lent, when we our dying to our sinful ways in the hope of rising with Christ to new life.
Cinderella – Do chores without complaining
Cinderella waited hand and foot on her step-mother and step-sisters and, even though they treated her horribly, she never complained. She did all of her chores with a joyful heart. We should do the same!
Saint Thérèse’s sentiment of doing the smallest things with the greatest love can help us through this. We should care for the least tasks among our lives and take responsibility for these things. This shows that we care about all aspects of life, not just the big areas, just as God cares for each of us.
Merida – Repair broken or strained relationships
Merida had a strained relationship with her mother based on miscommunication and not truly listening to the other person or respecting her point of view. Lent is a time of purging from ourselves the hatred and resentment that can build up in relationships. We should do what we can to extend an olive branch and repair strained relationships as best as we can.
It is important to note that not all relationships can be repaired. If you had been in an abusive relationship – romantic, platonic, or familial – you can work on forgiving the person. But you do not have to let the offender back into your life where it could be easy to abuse you again. Repairing that relationship would take repentance and reformation on the part of the abuser, which is not something you can aid in.
Pocahontas – Instruct the ignorant with gentleness and generosity
Pocahontas showed John Smith that there was more to life than what the English were after. She showed him that her people were not savages, as they had been thought to be, but real people with complex lives and belief systems. Likewise, she showed her father the Chief and the rest of their people that the English were not all bad. She accomplished this by getting to know the other people and instructing each group with gentleness and generosity. We should do the same in our own lives!
Tiana – Take time off from work to meditate on Christ
Tiana was a workaholic and often forgot to take time off from her work to build community with those around her. Often, like Saint Martha, we can forget that our works should be in service to the Lord but never overshadowing our time with Him and in getting to know Him. Make sure to set aside at least 10 minutes a day to just be with God and know Him.
Elsa – Withdraw from life a bit to meditate on our faults and failings
Elsa removed herself from her kingdom because she saw her ice powers as a fault, something to be hidden. But when she did withdraw, she learned about her true faults (living in fear) and her failings (freezing the kingdom accidentally). She then worked through these issues and strengthen her powers – here we can liken her powers to growth in virtue. Then she was able to wield her powers responsibly at the service of her kingdom.
Likewise, we all have faults and failings that we need to forgive ourselves for and seek forgiveness from. We all can learn to strengthen ourselves in virtue. If you find yourself always talking over others, perhaps learn how to just listen to others before speaking. If you find that you are quick to anger, perhaps learn to count to ten and say a prayer for the person you’re angry with before responding. If you tend to give in to gluttony, perhaps take a day each week to fast and offer that for those who do not have enough to eat. All of these things (and more!) will help us grow in virtues and in love for our neighbors, ourselves, and God.
Anna – Make the ultimate sacrifice and unite yourself with Christ on the cross to save others from harm
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). When Anna say that Hans was about to kill Elsa, she ran to her sister’s aid, although she was also on the brink of death. Anna ran in front of a sword and allowed herself to freeze so that her sister might live. This sacrifice not only saved Elsa, but thawed Anna and the kingdom, too. Anna’s sacrifice of love brought new life to the kingdom.
We may not have the opportunity to literally die for our friends or the faith, but we can die to ourselves in small ways every day. We get up early to take care of our kids or to pray. We forgo things we would like so that we can give others what they need. All our sacrifices, when directed toward the good of others and ourselves, can lead us closer to Christ on the cross and His mother at the foot of the cross, and, therefore, to heaven.
May all of our Lents be ones of purging and sacrifice, of productivity and growth so that, in clearing out the dark and overgrown places of our hearts, we may be open to the new life offered to us by Christ in the Resurrection.