Resources for Lent – Yikes! Lent starts tomorrow! What do I do?

Over the past few weeks, The DePorres Pages website has been posting things you might consider for this Lent.  This list will continue to be updated over the course of Lent.  One addition will be the Lenten Resource of the Day, a suggestion about what you might do or where you might go for spiritual growth this Lent.

Also, all of the resources for Lent can be accessed by going to the Menu item at the very top of the page, “Resouces for Lent.

Remember that the overall goal of Lent is to become closer to God.  And we know that to be closer to God also means loving our neighbor more.  It seems like People, even me, are just so angry these days.  Remember that the life of faith is about a peace that surpasses understanding.  Hopefully, by focusing on the goals of Lent, prayer, fasting and almsgiving, you will be brought closer to this peace.  Happy Lent!

To access the complete page of Lenten resources, click here.

Lent Resources – the 40 Day Challenge

While I do not necessarily think all of these ideas have the same weight, this is a good place for some ideas about what to do for Lent.  It comes from a British site called LoveYourStreets.

Wednesday 1st March – Sunday 5th March

1st March – Engage in conversation with the people who serve you (e.g. shop keepers)
2nd March – Say thank you to someone as they work and say how much you appreciate them
3rd March – Call in on an elderly neighbour – take some cake, have a cup of tea and a chat
4th March – Shop locally and support local farmers, local veg growers and local shops
5th March – Show some love to your neighbourhood and pick up litter (please wear gloves and use a strong bag) or see if there is anything more you can recycle at home

Monday 6th March – Sunday 12th March

6th March – Hold doors open for those behind you
7th March – Smile at people
8th March – Be a nice driver – spread road-calm!
9th March – Email / write  to a local charity you think does a great work and thank them and those who volunteer
10th March – Take time to pray for your neighbours
11th March – Spread the niceness on Facebook and Twitter – compliment some of your friends
12th March – Set up a Blessing Bag – a bag of items you keep in your car that can be used to bless other people

Monday 13th March – Sunday 19th March

13th March – Write a letter to a local emergency service and thank them for the work they do
14th March – Say hello to people
15th March – Look at joining or setting up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme
16th March – Spot ways of helping people and do it
17th March – Go on a thankful walk – see all the positive things you can be thankful for in your neighbourhood
18th March – Buy Fairtrade where you can today
19th March – Take a single person (elderly person, single mum…) out for Sunday lunch

Monday 20th March – Sunday 26th March (Mothering Sunday)

20th March – Consider investing some time volunteering – could you give 24 hours over the next year?
21st March – Commit to collect used stamps for The Leprosy Mission
22nd March – Catch a bus (#Do1NiceThing for the environment) and say thank you to the bus driver
23rd March – Give a drink to a homeless person or take part in ‘Suspended Coffee
24th March – Email / write to your MP [i.e. representative] and say thank you for representing you and that you are praying for them
25th March – Take a prayer walk round your neighbourhood and pray for needs
Mothering Sunday 26th March – Take some flowers to mothers and grandmas on your street

Monday 27th March – Sunday 2nd April

27th March – Buy seeds ready to create a wildlife garden (or tub or window box!)
28th March – Look for ways to volunteer one hour of your time for someone else (look at StreetBank for ideas)
29th March – E-Mail your local councillors and say thank you for what they do and offer to pray for them
30th March – Take time to discover some new tourist attraction in your area (eg wildlife park, play area, etc)
31st March – Give away a book you think is worth reading
1st April – Pay for the drink of the person behind you in a coffee shop
2nd April – Write some inspirational messages on Post-It notes and randomly leave for people to find

Monday 3rd April – Sunday 9th April

3rd April – Help someone down the stairs or hold open a door for someone with a pram
4th April – Sit in a coffee shop and chat to some stranger’s or buy a ‘Suspended Coffee’ or pay for a stranger’s drink
5th April – Offer your skills to someone else for free
6th April – Write a letter to the boss of someone who has given excellent customer service to tell them so
7th April – Clear out unwanted items and give to a charity shop
8th April – Organise a free car wash for your community
Palm Sunday 9th April – Thank people for the virtues they have

Monday 10th April – Easter Sunday 16th April

10th April – Send flowers to a friend as a thank you for your friendship
11th April- Give a New Testament or inspirational book to someone you don’t know
12th April – Take a box of chocolates to work and say thank you to your colleagues
Maundy Thursday 13th April – Easter Weekend – Serve someone
Good Friday 14th April – Put spare change in a charity box
15th April – Visit a local shop you have not visited before or in a while (support locally!)
Easter Sunday 16th April – Get together with others to organise a community or church Easter Egg hunt

Homily for Sunday, March 9, 2014

Readings for Today

There are certain events in yyour life, of course, that you never forget.  For example, the birth of a child or your wedding day.  My Ordination Day, when I became a priest was such a day for me.

One event that stands out in my mind that day was a conversation with one of my favorite aunts.  She was quite the character, always making me laugh and being concerned that the “cousins” were having a great time.  I remember trips to her house and summers on the lake as some of the fondest memories I have of growing up.

She was, however, a character.  to give you an example, I remember one Easter Satruday, at her house, where all day she said, “oh, I have to get Easter candy.”  The whole day played out like this, until ten minutes before the department store closed she left, to be found banging on the doors of the department store asking to get in to buy candy.  (They obliged.)

But there was one encounter that I had with her on the day of my ordination that I will never forget, and in many respects, has been a guiding principle of my life.  We were alone for a moment, and she said to me, “Father (only time she called me that), remember, life is hard.  Be good to us.”

The gospel for the First Sunday of Lent always features one of the accounts of the temptation of Jesus in the desert.  Early in his ministry, Jesus is confronted with those things that could lead him away from his important mission .  Take the easy way.  Put God to the test.  Seek glory and fame.

For us, I think this reading is placed here because it is important to note that our lives, too are filled with temptations as well.  What is yours?  For some, it is to want to gather lots and lots of material things.  You know the old saying, “The one with the most toys wins.”  Yet we live in a world of unbeliveable poverty.  For others, it is to dull the pain of life with alcohol, drugs, or porn.  For still others, it may be the constant need to be the center of attention, or to be always successful, even if such success comes at the expense of others.  It may be that we struggle to turn our back on the poor, or to try to understand that coworker that is difficult, or the relationship in our family that has been broken for too long.

The season of Lent is a time to remove what keeps us from Christ, to sacrifice, not as a test of will power, but rather as a mechanism to bring us closer to Jesus.

This story of Jesus’ temptation is interesting because it is the Spirit that leads Jesus into the desert.  We may think it is strange that the Spirit of God would lead Jesus into the desert. But these tempations are not simply with Jesus for just today.  They follow him throughout his public ministry.  (Remember Jesus’ sharp words to Peter, “Get behind me Satain!”)

It is also important for us to name our temptations.  When we can name them, it is more likely we control them, and not the other way around.  This brings the freedom of following God, which enables us to be ourselves.

And yet, perhaps this encounter, and the knowledge that Jesus could overcome it, was the reason he was led.  We of course, since we are not the Son of God, do not have such strength, and hence we pray, “lead us not into temptation”, knowing that we need the strength of God’s grace to be drawn ever closer to him.

The parish provides us with many opportunities to open our hearts to God.  If you find yourself with too much clutter, perhaps the 40 bags (or items) in 40 days are a way to simplify your life.  Every Friday we are invited to the Stations of the Cross to remind ourselves of the great self gift of Jesus that leads us to salvation.  Sacrifice is not always attractive, but we know that in most of the important relationships, if there is to be a successful relationship, then it involves sacrifice.

You might think feeding the hunger of stomach and sould on Wednesdays at 6, with Soup and Substance.  It has been so successful in the past that I am confident it will help again this year.

Whatever it is you do, do so with the heart that is open to the Spirit, knowing that we may be led whrere we do not want to go.  But as long as we have the companionship of Jesus, we will always be ok.