Catholics are often accused of “going through the motions” and this can easily occur during Lent. Throughout this season, Catholics and many other Christian denominations try to become more like Jesus, who spent forty days in the desert prior to his public ministry. In particular, we are called to pray, fast, and give alms (acts of charity). Over time, this beautiful season has been reduced to two common practices, namely, giving up chocolate and avoiding meat on Friday’s. Of course, observed with the right spirit and intention, these can be wonderful practices. However, our Franciscan heritage invites us to consider so much more.
In the Franciscan tradition, a vision of the human person does not begin with sin. Instead, it focuses on the inherent goodness of every individual. In fact, our view of all creation emphasizes what is good because everything comes from the same source: A Good and Loving God. Lent should be no different. Rather than simply refraining from something “bad” as a form of self-punishment, let us celebrate what is good and, more importantly, DO good.
If you are giving something up this Lent, consider how this act of detachment from one thing can open you up to the goodness of another. For instance, detachment from electronic devices can be accompanied by a commitment to spend more time with friends and relatives. In other words, consider how our observance of Lent can be directed towards others, particularly those in need. This Year of Mercy invites us to give alms by providing necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, and water to the poor. If you are looking for ways to do this at Hilbert, consider “Giving the Gift of Hope” this Lent.
Below, you will find a link to the Catholic Relief Services Gift Catalog. Divided into several main categories, this catalog conveniently lists individual gifts that you can purchase including everything from school supplies and teacher training’s to vaccinations, clean water, and food, all for very reasonable prices! I invite our offices and departments to join together in finding and purchasing a gift that is meaningful to them. Of course, people are encouraged to pool together in the purchase of larger items as well. If you are a club advisor, invite your students to participate as well!
Please give all monetary donations to me by Friday, March 18th, indicate which gift you’d like to buy, and I will make all of the purchases together on behalf of us all by depositing the funds into an Even Exchange Account.
May this Lent lead us to a greater awareness of God’s love and mercy!