Can I get an AMEN for Lent? Well it is underway and I hope we all have decided to let the Lord have His way with us this Lent. Remember not to let another day pass by without making the choice to let the Lord into your heart this season. This week we take some love from the Holy Father and talk about what charity and giving have to do with Lent.
“Every time when, for love of God, we share our goods with our neighbor in need, we discover that the fullness of life comes from love and all is returned to us as a blessing in the form of peace, inner satisfaction and joy” –Pope Benedict XVI
Often times during Lent we get this understanding that this season is all about us. We talk about what WE are giving up for Lent and forget about the piece of Lent that the Church calls almsgiving. The focus of almsgiving is not to stay with our eyes focused on ourselves put to look to our brothers and sisters in need around us and reach out to them with great love and compassion.
As Lent is a time to realize our sinfulness, St. Peter tell us in his letter that, “Charity covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Reaching out to others in love can help us overcome the sin in our lives and leave it behind. Helping our parents around the house, taking out the trash, cleaning our rooms, playing with our little brothers and sisters, saying hello to the person who is lonely at school or even sitting by them at lunch, not gossiping about others or putting others down behind their backs, or donating a portion of your allowance or pay check, are a few examples of how we can reach out to others in almsgiving.
It’s time to believe that our actions and the way we treat others can really strengthen and deepen our relationship with the Lord and influence the world around us. Pope Benedict XVI continues in his Lenten letter, “By drawing close to others through almsgiving, we draw close to God; it can become an instrument for authentic conversion and reconciliation with Him and our brothers.” Reaching out to others, our hearts are changed and transformed, awakening an ache and desire in us to give even MORE. Hopefully we all know that feeling after completing an act of charity where we know that we have done good and made a difference, and we look for even more opportunities to reach out and love. And the reality of it is that if we give MORE…we receive MORE. Our Lord can never be outdone in love, as he always rewards and blesses those who give with generous hearts.
So loving others is romantic to talk about but how are we going to make our love real and come alive this Lent? The Pope gives us the answer, “Let this time, then, be marked by a personal and community effort of attachment to Christ in order that we may be witnesses of His love.”
With that said, here is the Live Greater Lenten Challenge: This week spend some time in prayer and think about one person in your life you want to reach out to. Take a sticky note, put that person’s name on it and stick it to your bathroom mirror. Every time you see it, be reminded of the commitment you have made to reach out to that person daily with a great act of love. Remember, it does not need to be shown with extraordinary actions, but just small and simple actions done with great love. Once you have chosen the person you want to reach out to, email me at [email protected] with one act of love you are going to do weekly for that person. I will gather all the names and actions and keep them in my prayers for you all during this great season of Lent, and we will revisit our acts of love at the end of Lent.
Who is that person going be? My friends love and you will be loved…and your Lent will be unlike any other before.
God Bless You,
Question of the week? What does almsgiving look like in your life?
* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.