LENT: Giving up to Give More (or better, Give Better)
Mar 3, 2017
Welcome to the Holy Season of Lent! We remember, make present how much OUR LORD JESUS EMPTIED HIMSELF, GAVE EVERYTHING (Cf. Philippians 2) for our redemption.
“Redemption” connotes something precious (yet lost or pawned) that has to be bought and brought back with a great price. That precious one is you and I who totally lost our dignity as God’s prized possession by sin and willful disobedience. The great price is the Great Sacrifice of Our Lord: His Passion, Death and Resurrection!
How great is the Father’s mercy for us that [He] so loved us that He gave us the Only One He has! All He asks is that we repent, believe in Jesus and love, be merciful like Him impelled by the Spirit that we may return again to Him (Cf. John 3:16). For besides, eternal life does not happen in the end, it is “in the works”, a loving relationship with God through our neighbor that begins and is deepened now till we return Home (Cf. Romans 8:21-23).
LENT in the sense of Jesus giving Himself for our redemption then is not much about “giving up” but “giving [love] because one simply loves”. Let me share TEN “GIVING ” PRACTICES (vs. GIVING UP). These holy ideas I got and paraphrased from http://www.yourmodernfamily.com/10-lent-ideas.
- DON’T BUY ANYTHING THAT YOU DON’T NEED. If we can live without it, we don’t need it. Put the money saved in a jar. Look at how much we can save after 40 days. Put some into savings and/or donate the rest.
- THROW AWAY 40 THINGS FOR 40 DAYS. Every day, walk around the house and collect 40 things to donate or throw away…every day. Try donating (like Bundle Sunday on March 12) because it helps others.
- 40 DAYS OF HOME ORGANIZATION. Every day during Lent, go into one room at home and organize it. This decluttering is a powerful symbol of spiritual “cleansing”. More so, it is also a “work of mercy”, an act of selflessness.
- NO GOSSIPING. If someone says something negative about another person, either say something nice or don’t say anything at all.
- NO EATING AFTER DINNER. We see here just a glimpse of how Jesus struggled when he was hungry.
- NO SODA. It is harder than most people think, since it is a habit and routine for some. Doing this, we “give” ourselves to a healthier alternative. Water remains the basic and healthiest detoxifier.
- SAY 3 NICE THINGS TO SOMEONE EVERY DAY. You may think this is easy but try to say things that aren’t the normal “Thanks” or “You look great” or “Good job”. Try to do three out-of-the-box things: “I love how you always help the kids” or “I love how you work hard even when it is tough today.”
- DON’T EAT OUT. This is “going beyond” the “fasting-abstinence- almsgiving” tripod of Lent. We “give” ourselves to be in solidarity with the needy, simplicity of lifestyle and serving the family. It’s not always easy to do home cooking. Thanks, mothers!
- REPLACE 30 MINUTES OF TV TIME (OR OTHER RECREATION) WITH 30 MINUTES OF DEVOTION/PRAYER. Read a devotional or the daily Lent Mass readings (with your family) and have a reflection/discussion about it. Even the young (and the young at heart) can learn and have fun doing this.
- DO NOT COMPLAIN. Try to have a positive outlook on things. This is very hard. We don’t realize how much we complain until we “give” ourselves to an attitude of gratitude. “Do everything without arguing or complaining…” (Philippians 2:14)
SO, WHAT [LOVE] WILL YOU BE “GIVING” THIS YEAR FOR LENT?