Using a calendar template
Using a calendar template is a simple, daily, and playful but serious practice for praying our way through the forty days of Lent.
Each day, choose a word to ponder or a person to pray for. Write the word or name in the allotted space with a pen and draw or doodle around it. Add color with colored pencils or markers. Let the word or name speak to you. If words come to you as you draw, pray them. If not, just continue to draw, stay quiet, and let the word or name burrow into your mind and heart. Returning to the calendar each day establishes a special time to be present to God and to listen.
Think of each mark of the pen or stroke of a colored marker/pencil as a small non-verbal prayer. The goal of the doodling and drawing is not to make a beautiful work of art (though it often does), but to create a visual prayer. Drawing/doodling invites the body into the prayer, gives the eyes and hand something to do, and helps to focus attention on the word or person.
Praying on the calendar is a visual and kinesthetic Lenten discipline. The accumulation of words or peoples’ names on the calendar creates an emerging tapestry of your spiritual journey.
Download the templates below. Choose the one or ones you like and click on the link below the calendars. Download the template first, then Print. Below the templates are some suggested ways to use the calendars. Since the spaces are small you can take the template to a copier and enlarge it (129%-132%) onto an 11″x17″ piece of card stock. Although Lent is officially 40 days, there are 46 spaces on each template to include the weekends. (Sundays are not officially part of Lent, but I don’t like to break the rhythm of my daily practice.)
Feel free to Share this post and the templates with others.
(NOTE: Some schools do not permit the download of materials from outside websites. If you have trouble downloading from a school address, try using your personal email.)
These templates are also available on the Handouts Page of this website.
Lily Stained Glass pdf or jpg
Circles/Cross pdf or jpg
Box Calendar pdf or jpg
Spiral Calendar pdf or jpg
(Thanks to Hilary Ann Golden for her Spiral calendar template.)
Ways to Use the Calendars
1) Pray for a person each day of Lent.
2) Use a daily book of Lenten meditations. Read the meditation for the day and select a word that jumps out at you. Write the word in the space. Meditate on it as you draw and color around it. Let it enter your heart and mind. Ask God what you need to hear from the word.
3) Follow a daily lectionary and choose a word from one of the Scripture readings.
4) Use the vocabulary of Lent from Scripture and tradition–ashes, desert, temptation, denial, repentance, Passion, cross, forgiveness, fasting….
4) Read a Psalm each day and choose a word.
5) Describe the nature and character of Jesus in your calendar using nouns and adjectives: Savior, Redeemer, Healer, radical, obedient, forgiving,…
6) Since Lent is a time for reflection and self-examination, scatter your confessions, character defect, and regrets. The past year has been a difficult one for many people, so include your specific worries, fears, and sorrows on the calendar. Your pathway of tears will take you to the cross and give you a visual way to lay your burdens down.”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11 :28 NIV) Ask the Holy Spirit to be present as you reflect on these.This is not meant to be an exercise in self-flagellation or self-pity, but a way to be honest with yourself and draw closer to God and God’s unconditional love. Mix in some dreams, hopes, and thanksgivings.
Here is an example of the possible beginnings of a Circle/Cross calendar. I filled in the arms with an assortment of doodles. This could be done at any time during Lent. Color is not a requirement; just using a black pen can also be a meditative practice.
Here are three examples of completed calendars from previous years.
The middle one was completed by Cindy O.
I love your concept. It really helps me settle when my head is busy and I find it difficult to be still for Lectio Divina or Imaginative Contemplation. I share your process with people I direct where I think it would be helpful, and I have shared it o my blog. My friend has even started making templates out of quotes that move her. She gave me some to do on my retreats. I am also excited to choose one of these templates for Lent. THank you so much for sharing them. Margaret Mary
Thanks, Mary Margaret, for your comment and for sharing the idea with others. Peace. Sybil