Thursday, February 11, 2016

My Lenten Jar

As we begin, the Lenten Season the Church invites us to return with open hearts to the God who waits lovingly and anxiously for each of us.  We are encouraged by the Scripture Readings to draw our attention and our hearts toward God and others by making a place for sacrifices in our daily Lenten Journey.  Those sacrifices are recommended to be of 3 specific kinds:  Prayer, Almsgiving, and Fasting.  Ever since I was a child, I have found it hard to balance all 3.  I often started with a plan and then found it hard to continue for 40 days.  Then one Lent I remembered the little Advent box a teacher taught me to make.  I thought, why not transfer that concept into a "Lenten Jar."

Here is the recipe for my "Lenten Jar."
  1. On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday I write down 40 tasks on slips of lavender paper.  
  2. 1/3 of the tasks are almsgiving in nature (not monetary but acts of kindness) such as visiting someone who is sick at home or in a nursing home, offering help to another sister or a co-worker, writing a letter to someone.  
  3.  1/3 of the tasks are to pray for someone in a special way throughout the day.  On these papers I put names of people who are special to me, or who have asked for my prayers, people I know who are sick or struggling etc.  
  4. 1/3 of the tasks are related to fasting for a day from candy, or dessert, or coffee  etc.
  5. Then I fold these tiny notes and toss them in a jar.
  6. From Ash Wednesday on I pull one task out of the jar daily and focus on it for the day.
My jar gives me variety and surprises each day.  It is a simple way to concentrate on and balance the disciplines of almsgiving, prayer and fasting.

Whatever we choose to do this Lent, may God bless all of us on our Journey back to Him.

My Lenten Jar

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