Monday, January 28, 2013

Lenten Works of Mercy

Lent is right around the corner and I see an opportunity use the the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy as a springboard to come up with some family sacrifices (at the bottom of the post for your reference) and at the same time honor the three pillars of Lenten Sacrifice:  Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.

We have already agreed on one sacrifice to make together; we will eat on a food stamps budget for the entirety of Lent. But after our conscientious observance of Advent this year, I really want to help us keep Lent in an active way.

I brainstormed these ideas to talk over with the family to see which ones we want to implement. [2/14: The ones in bold are the ones we chose] Here is my starting list; what are your ideas?
  • Buy food for the hungry before Easter using our savings from our "food stamps" budget and have the kids take them into church on Easter as offerings.  (We did this at Christmas and it was good for us all).
  • Make up "help bags" for the homeless to carry in the car.
  • Cull our closets for high quality things we don't wear to donate to the children's home and women's shelter
  • Get wish lists for local children's and homeless shelters to see if we can meet any of those needs
  • Write letters to cheer service-persons abroad 
  • Challenge each member of the family to share his or her faith with someone 
  • Send an encouraging note to someone going through a hard time
  • Start a prayer jar; place names of family and friends (living and dead) on slips of paper in a jar on the table.  Each night, draw a name from the jar and pray for that person (or the repose of their soul).
  • Set a purpose to speak (mercifully) to someone who is on a destructive path.
  • Share this excellent blog post with Dear Hubby and the teens
  • Make a concerted effort effort to "bear wrongs patiently and forgive all injuries." I'm thinking of getting some bear stickers for the little ones to put on a paper cross each time we notice them "bearing" with each other.  Might be good for the big ones too!
  • Pray for someone or a situation we learn about on the news
  • Sacrifice TV time and use that time to write a letter to an elderly friend or do a good deed for someone, such as cook a special meal, clean something, repair something, etc.
  • Calendar times to attend stations of the cross on Fridays
  • Make a King's cake for Fat Tuesday (since I forgot on Epiphany this year! Here's a pic from last year)
  • Participate in a Food Fast to help us understand how the hungry are suffering (Feb 21-22); I won't have the little ones do this, but they'll have no sweets or extras that day [two of us are doing this; the others think they're crazy!]
The corporal works of mercy is as follows:
  • To feed the hungry;
  • To give drink to the thirsty;
  • To clothe the naked;
  • Shelter the homeless;
  • To visit the sick;
  • Visit the imprisoned;
  • To bury the dead.
The spiritual works of mercy are:
  • To instruct the ignorant;
  • To counsel the doubtful;
  • To admonish sinners;
  • To bear wrongs patiently;
  • To forgive offences willingly;
  • To comfort the afflicted;
  • To pray for the living and the dead.

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