Lenten Liturgical Living: The Number 40 and Vocations

This week in our Lenten Liturgical Living series, let’s look closer at the significance of the number 40, vocations, and how we can bring these special themes into our family’s Lenten season.

40 is a significant number in the Bible, appearing several times in both the Old and New Testaments. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, Noah had 40 days and 40 nights of rain for the great flood, Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai, Jesus ascended 40 days after His resurrection, and many others. Jesus also spent 40 days and nights of prayer and fasting in the desert preparing for his sacred mission. Whenever the number 40 appears, it is characterized as a time of transformation and transition for something big. It is no wonder that as we prepare for the death and resurrection of our Lord, we are given 40 days to transform our hearts and prepare for something BIG… Easter!

Because the 40 days of Lent are modeled after Jesus’ time in the desert preparing for His sacred calling, Lent is an excellent time to reflect, discuss, and pray about our own vocations - and those within our family. It is also an excellent time to pray for and encourage those who are discerning and have dedicated their lives to ordained and religious life. Within a family, this can mean learning about the Saints or encouraging family participation at your parish (think: choir, altar serving, ushering, youth groups, etc.). Catholic Mom offers an excellent list of 5 simple ways to encourage vocations as a family.

Kolbe is also very excited to offer our Vocations Retreat on Tuesday, March 15th and Wednesday, March 16th 2022. The retreat itself is reserved to Kolbe students, but there are two wonderful presentations that are available to the public. Read more here! Also, be sure to check out the Vocations Retreat Schedule of Events and download the Family Discussion Questions and Family Resource Guide!

3 Ways to Reinforce the 40 Days of Lent as a Family:

1. Pray together each day, with 40-days of special intentions. The USCCB offers a list of prayers for vocations with exactly 42 prayers included - perfect for each day of Lent, with2 to spare! A Lenten prayer chain is an excellent way to customize your family’s Lenten prayers and include the whole family. Catholic Inspired also offers this printable version, but making your own chain can be done simply with some paper, scissors, tape, and a pen. Have each family member write their intentions on a “link” (for a total of 40), which are then looped together using tape or staples. Every day one link is removed, and the intention listed is focused on that day.

2. Make a 40-day Countdown. A Lenten countdown calendar is a fun daily reminder that kids can color in each day and remind us of key dates or feast day within Lent. These can also be used individually or as a family to track Lenten promises, sacrifices, or good deeds. Catholic Sprouts offers this colorful 40-day countdown or Chatechist’s Journey offers this cross coloring worksheet for each day of Lent to help track progress.

3. Donate 40 bags in 40 days. This concept can be applied in so many ways! It can be a family and friends project, joining together to make 40 bags of food or supplies to distribute to the poor. It can also be a way to give away things that we may have in excess. Catholic Icing offers a great post with more on this almsgiving activity for the whole family.

Be sure to check out Kolbe’s Liturgical Living Guidepost for some great ideas for all the upcoming Feast Days, and join us next week for more of the Lenten Living series! May the Lord transform our hearts and families this Lent, and may He guide each of us to follow and live out our vocations each day with faith, hope, and love.

Saint Maximillian Kolbe, pray for us.
Mary, our Good Mother, pray for us.


Blog Post written by:

Vanessa Valderrama Delgado

Vanessa Valderrama Delgado