As I am sure you already know, we have entered into Lent. As most Catholics, I have been fasting and praying. So far I really haven’t done much of the third thing we are called to do during Lent, which is Almsgiving (acts of charity). I have made plans on to fast (such as not eating meat on Fridays) and for praying more during this season. But I really haven’t done much in regards to being more charitable. I do have some ideas on how I can be, but I just haven’t put them into practice yet.
I would first like to talk about my plan for fasting, or giving up something for Lent. Normally I give up either cookies or pop for Lent. Usually these are two pretty easy things for me to give up; well I do have some hard time giving up cookies because I really do enjoy eating them. But it really isn’t something that is really difficult to do. This year I decided to give up eating between meals. I know this may not seem like something that is really difficult to give up, but it is a challenge for me. I have noticed lately that I eat when I get nervous about something. I have been snacking even when I haven’t been hungry. I decide this would be much more of a challenge for me to give up and I do feel this can bring me closer to God. I say that because I feel I should be focus my attention to God when I feel nervous for strength versus looking in the cookie jar for it.
As I mentioned in my last posting, I am working on setting aside about 30 minutes a day for prayer. I have begun to say the rosary every night prior to going to bed. I have found that praying is a great way to relieve any stress or anxiety I had that day. I’m sure the reason has to do with finding more strength in God than looking for that strength within myself. As I have mentioned in the past, I deal with self-esteem issues, so for me to find the strength within myself isn’t always very easy. Finding strength in God is much easier and I do think that strength is something that will last my entire life time, where finding the strength within one self may only last for a short time.
Another thing that I have mentioned in the past is how I have been attending different Catholic Churches in the area. There are something like 9 different Catholic Churches within about 10 miles of where I live. I have been attending St. Michael’s lately though. It’s a much smaller Church than what I am used to attending, which I find nice. On the Saturday before Ash Wednesday, they handed out “The Little Black Book”. This book is set up so that each day one spends about six minutes on the Passion of Mark (Mk 14.1 – 16.7). The book started on February 14 and I have started reading this little book as well on that date. This is one way that I am spending more time praying than I was in the past.
Now on to doing more charitable work. This has been an area I seem to have been struggling in lately. Part of the reason is I was doing most of my charitable work through my employer. Due to some changes in management, the opportunities to do charitable work have not been there. I also recently took a pay cut and had my hours reduced. So I have to start looking for other ways to help to make this world a better place that do not really involve me donating money. What I am thinking right now is to set a goal of the amount of rice and/or flour I want to raise from either Free Rice or Free Flour. Both would allow me to just give up some time to complete their activities to raise either rice or flour for people in need and not cost me a dime. I am thinking of setting a goal of something like 20.000 pieces of rice and/or 2,000 cups of flour. I know this may seem like a cheap way out of doing charity work, but right now I really don’t have an outlet to do charity work and I don’t really have any money to share to donate to a good cause. So I do feel at this moment, take time to donate rice and/or flour to those in need is a good way to be more charitable doing Lent.