The prophet Isaiah tells us that God wants a fast which involves releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own (Isaiah 58:6-7, NAB). Almsgiving or service is an essential Lenten practice.
The Catholic Bishops of the United States emphasize that our faith calls us to work for justice; to serve those in need; to pursue peace; and to defend the life, dignity, and rights of all our sisters and brothers. This is the call of Jesus, the challenge of the prophets, and the living tradition of our Church. (A Century of Social Teaching. A Pastoral Message of Catholic Bishops of the United States. November 1990)
Lent is a time for repentance and action. We are called to service those in need and use our wealth, gifts, time, and talents to create a world that mirrors the vision that Jesus proclaimed.
posted on 02/19/2004 10:06:09 PM PST
(†With God all things are possible.†)
Some ideas for Praying, Fasting, Almsgiving:
--> fast from watching television one night each week so that you can spend time on a Lenten practice, such as praying, reading the Bible, serving others
--> fast from one movie during Lent and give the money
and the time in service to others
--> fast from using foul language and put-downs and start affirming the good in other people
--> fast from buying new things like clothes, music, magazines, or jewelry and make a donation
--> fast from spending money on entertainment and make a donation of time or money that serves others
--> fast from holding resentments and start practicing forgiveness
--> from gossiping or being dishonest and start the practice of always being truthful and honest
--> fast from a favorite snack food or drink and set aside the money you would have spent to donate to a special charity
--> fast from being angry or upset with people who have hurt or offended you, and pray for the courage to forgive them
--> fast from feeling guilty and angry at yourself for things you have done wrong, instead remember Gods great love for you.
--> participate in Ash Wednesday services
--> participate in the Stations of the Cross during Lent
--> participate in the Lenten Sunday liturgies
--> participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent
--> read the Lenten Scripture readings through Lent; heres a list for each week of Lent: (C)
(1) Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 (Ash Wednesday)
(2) Luke 4:1-13 (1st Sunday)
(3) Luke 9:28b-36 (2nd Sunday)
(4) Luke 13:1-9 (3rd Sunday)
(5) Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 (4th Sunday)
(6) John 8:1-11 (5th Sunday)
(7) Luke 22:14:23-71, 23:1-56 (Passion Sunday)
(8) John 13:1-15 (Holy Thursday)
(9) John 18:119:42 (Good Friday)
(10) John 20:1-9 (Easter)
--> spend fifteen minutes a day praying during Lent: give thanks to God for all your blessings, prayer for a specific personal need prompted by the day's experience, and prayer for those who are in need or suffering in your community and the world
--> donate personal possessions, such as clothes, books, shoes, to people in need
--> dedicate time for service during Lent, e.g., working at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, helping people in your neighborhood such as the elderly.
--> donate food or money saved by fasting to the parish or community food pantry, food bank, or homeless shelter
--> cook a meal for the soup kitchen or homeless shelter, gather some friends to help
--> volunteer at a local soup kitchen, homeless shelter or nursing home several hours per week during Lent
--> learn more about feeding the hungry by contacting Bread for the World, 1100 Wayne Ave., Suite 1000, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (301-608-2400)
--> learn more about addressing human rights violations around the world by contacting Amnesty International, 322 8th Ave., New York, NY 10001; 212-807-8400 (amnesty.org)
--> learn more about the ways you can help others around the world by contacting netaid.org.
--> volunteer to read books and magazines to the elderly who are no longer able to read
--> help others learn to how to read by becoming a literacy trainer or volunteer to tutor children
--> work to change the structures of injustice by joining the work of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby at 801 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Washington, DC 20003-2167 (networklobby.org)
--> work to overcome child sweatshops by supporting the work of Free the Children, which builds rehabilitation and educational centers for children freed from sweatshop labor, (FTP, 603 N. Oak St., Falls Church, VA 22046, 703-534-7045)
--> support the work of the hospice movement to provide compassionate low-cost, in-patient and at-home care for the terminally ill, contact the National Hospice Movement at 1-800-658-8898
--> give the gift of sight by donating old eyeglasses or unused frames to the local Lions Club who recycles them to the poor
--> support the national work of Covenant House as they house and care for homeless youth (P.O. Box 731, Times Square Station, NY, NY 10108-0731)
--> support the work of Project Clean Your Desk, which delivers pencils, paper and other supplies to resource-starved rural schools were children drop out because their families cannot afford these provisions. Organizing packets are available from Project Clean Your Desk, Quixote Center, Box 5206, Hyattsville, MD 20782 (301-699-0042)
Additional Lenten Ideas-->-->-->
List your own ideas with your family.
posted on 02/19/2004 10:12:57 PM PST
(†With God all things are possible.†)
Matt. 9:15; Mark 2:20; Luke 5:35 - many non-Catholics frown upon the Church's pious practice of fasting, and say that fasting went away after the resurrection of Christ. But Jesus Himself says that His followers will fast once He is gone and does not object.
Matt. 6:16-18 - in fact, Jesus even gives instructions on how to fast. Jesus says, "Do not look dismal like the hypocrites, but look clean and refreshed."
Matt. 17-21; Mark 9:29 - Jesus teaches that only prayer and fasting had special power to cure a man possessed by a demon. Jesus teaches about the efficacy of fasting and how fasting, coupled with prayer, is acceptable and pleasing to God.
Luke 2:37 - Anna the widow worshiped God with fasting and prayer night and day. The Church has always taught that, by virtue of our priesthood conferred in baptism, our fasting participates in the priesthood of Christ by atoning for the temporal punishments due to our and other peoples sins.
Acts 13:2-3; 14:23 - the apostles engaged in prayer and fasting in connection with ordaining leaders of the Church. Prayer and fasting have always been the practice of the Church.
1 Tim. 4:3 - when Paul refers to doctrines that require abstinence from foods, some Protestants refer to this verse to condemn the Catholic Church's practice of fasting. But Paul is referring to abstinence and any other practice that is performed apart from Christ's teachings. Fasting, on the other hand, is done in obedience to Christ's teachings of taking up our cross and following Him, by participating in His sufferings so we can share in His glory. When citing this verse, these Protestants do not explain why Jesus prophesied that his followers would fast and why Jesus gave instructions on how to fast.
Ez. 8:21-23 - Ezra proclaims a fast as a prayer for humility and self-mortification and God responds. Our fasting is performed to remind us of our absolute reliance upon God.
Neh. 1:4; 9:1 - these texts also show the historical practice of fasting. Fasting atones for temporal punishment due to sin and repairs our relationship with God.
Tobit 12:8 - prayer is good when accompanied by fasting. Throughout salvation history, God has encouraged fasting to be coupled with prayer.
Judith 4:9-13 - the people of Israel humbled themselves with fasting and the Lord Almighty responds.
Esther 4:3,16 - people fasted for days to atone for sin. Although Jesus remits the eternal penalty of our sin, we can atone for temporal penalties due to our sin.
Psalm 35:13 - David says, "I afflicted myself with fasting." David recognized that fasting drew him closer to God. Fasting makes us aware of our dependency on God.
Psalm 69:10 - the Psalmist writes, "I humbled my soul with fasting." Fasting helps us become humble, and in our humility we unit ourselves with our humble God.
Jer. 36:9 - the peoples of Jerusalem and Judah declared a fast before the Lord.
Baruch 1:5 - they wept, fasted, and prayed before the Lord.
Dan. 9:3; 10:2-3 - Daniel sought God through fasting, and abstained from choice foods and wine for three weeks.
Joel 1:14; 2:12,15 - fasts are called to sanctify and turn oneself toward the Lord.
Jonah 3:5,10 - people of Nineveh proclaim a fast to appease God and God responds favorably.
1 Macc. 3:47; 2 Macc. 13:12 - Judas and his army fasted in prayer.
posted on 02/28/2006 10:21:21 PM PST
(†With God all things are possible.†)
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