A theme from this week’s readings could be one of Light. Jesus is the light of the world. He came to shatter darkness and spread His Father’s love to all who would be open to that light. Our Catholic faith gives us the sacraments to guide us and propel us to a Holy life. That holy life can shine forth throughout all of our years via virtuous living, ignited by the pillars of Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.
Throughout Lent and through our lives, we are all called to pray. Prayer is our spiritual food that nourishes our soul and brings us into a deeper relationship with our Triune God. Fasting helps us recognize that this life is not about us. It helps us to become disciplined or disciples (note the similar base word) and focus beyond our needs. Almsgiving is an outward sign that shows that we are more than just independent beings. We are all one body and we do not stand alone.
By living a life that accentuates the pillars of Lent, we can bring light to our world.
Prayer: Today, stop and pray for 10 minutes. Pick a line of scripture, a line from the creed, a favorite prayer that you have had since childhood and just focus on a single line. Let that line speak to you in a new way. Let it set a spark of light in you so that you can shine a little brighter today than you did yesterday. Then, do the same thing tomorrow and the next day and continue to grow and shine your light.
Fasting: This doesn’t have to just be a Lenten activity. There are a lot of things that we do in our modern world that we could fast from; fasting from television is an example. Set a limit of an hour a day and then spend the time that you would have watched TV developing a hobby, reading great Catholic books, studying using Formed.org, visiting the sick, the poor, the imprisoned; helping out at a local school or getting involved in a church ministry like Catholic United. There are many fruits that come with fasting.
Almsgiving: I’m a recovering math teacher. I taught middle school math for nearly 20 years before becoming a school administrator. I believe that I think differently than a lot of people, my family sure says that I do. When my kids were young, we could hardly get through a meal without me bringing up a math problem related to our meal. I would ask fraction questions, patterning questions, numeracy questions, etc. to show that math is everywhere. Well, I still find myself asking a lot of math questions. In terms of today’s story, my math question is this: How brightly could our light shine in this community if we all embraced almsgiving at a commitment level of even 2% of our collective income? What about 5%? What if we became a tithing parish and gave 10%?
Our world needs light; God’s light of love. Can you commit to 1% more in prayer, fasting and almsgiving all year long? 2%? 5%? Let’s be a Beacon of Light to our community that brings more souls to Christ, and evangelize our community like never before!
Shine on St. Joseph Catholic Community, Shine on!