A couple years ago, I made this video for the Center for FaithJustice, the awesome nonprofit in Lawrenceville, NJ, where I used to work.
The idea came out of a bunch of frustrating Lents. I had trouble sticking with any sort of commitment that felt meaningful. So I decided to try connecting my disciplines in an intentional way, focusing on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. And it worked really well! I felt more in touch with God and neighbor than I ever had during the season.
If you’re still thinking about what you might do for Lent, here’s how you do what I’ve termed “The Lenten Loop.”
First, pick an issue close to your heart. This year, I’ll concentrate on hunger, inspired by Caritas Internationalis’ “One Human Family, Food for All” campaign. Then wrap your prayer, fasting and almsgiving around that issue.
Prayer: I’ll pick a few favorite organizations that fight hunger, both locally and abroad, and pray for them and the people they serve each day. I’ll also print out this prayer card from Caritas and use this prayer for those who are hungry during Lent.
Fasting. I’ll fast from a luxury food item I don’t need. This year, it’s beer. Whenever I’m tempted to stop by the liquor store during Lent, I’ll try to remember those who go without even the most basic food items. (When education was my central issue, I fasted from buying books, movies, and music.)
Almsgiving. I’ll try to give of my time and treasure (plenty will be saved from not buying beer!) to some of those hunger-fighting organizations I’m praying for. Maybe I’ll volunteer at Cathedral Kitchen and participate in CRS Rice Bowl.
The Loop is just one idea for working on a more intentional, life & justice-connected Lent. If you try it, feel free to leave a report in the comments section. Blessings on your Lenten journey.