Thursday, March 8, 2012

Living Out the Pillars in Lent


Columban missionaries in front of the Basilica of the
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
By: Caitlin Baummer, Catholic Volunteer Network Recruiter

Okay, so we've all heard the usual sacrifices: candy, soda, coffee... but this year, Catholic Volunteer Network wanted to know what our volunteers were giving up/taking on for Lent. In the responses I received, it occurred to me the ways that our volunteer's commitments reflected our four pillars.

When we think about what to give up for Lent, we probably think of simplicity, right? And if we take on some sort of prayer or devotional, we consider faith, yes? Well, have you ever considered how your Lenten promises could apply to the other two pillars of community and social justice as well?

Here are some common (and not so common) commitments that our volunteers told me they were making and how they fit into Catholic volunteer Network's four pillars:

Simplicity
  1. Giving up Netflix/Facebook/Apps- one volunteer actually had her comunity member change her password!
  2. Only drinking water- gulp gulp.
  3. Giving up eating meat- Yup, the whole time, not just on Fridays.
  4. Not wearing make-up/ fixing your hair- embrace the natural beauty that God sees in you.
  5. Not using disposale products- invest in cloth towels and reusable totes.
Faith
  1. Reading a spiritual book- commit to a number of pages per day.
  2. Reading a book of the bible- maybe focus on one of the Psalms each day.
  3. Praying the Rosary or a Novena daily- St. Joseph, St. Anthony, Little Flower Novena...
  4. Attending daily Mass- before work or maybe on your lunch break.
  5. Spending 20 minutes a day in prayer- in whatever way calls to you.
Community
  1. Doing an energy fast as a household- vow not to use electricity after a certain time at night.
  2. Being present in the moment- particularly when spending time with others
  3. Giving up complaining- and focusing on engaging in positive conversations
  4. Forgiving someone(s)- toward whom you harbor negative feelings
  5. Leaving your laptop/cell phone in your room- when spending time with community or friends.
Social Justice
  1. Volunteering once a week- outside of your placement site
  2. Becoming more educated in a particular issue of social injustice- human trafficking, immigration, food deserts, the list goes on and on...
  3. Engaging in a program like "JustFaith"- www.justfaith.org
  4. Going on an Alternative Spring Break Trip- you can find some through RESPONSE.
  5. Donate one item for every day of Lent- clothing, food, tithing a portion of your stipend.
These were just a few of the many things you could take on/ give up for Lent. May whatever practice you chose bring you closer to God and the sacrifice that Jesus made for each of us.

Have a blessed Lent!