13 February, 2013

And afterwards He was hungry.

This past Sunday I was blessed and honored to give a talk to the youth group at our parish regarding Lent and prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We discussed Matthew 4:1-11. Then I shared with them a few examples of each of these things...

Here is an excerpt of my talk notes:

Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving

Fasting is probably the most popular ---  fasting is to abstain from something for a long period of time.  
Often we find ourselves indulging in things of this world, instead of in God.

aka too much time on Facebook, over eating, gossiping, complaining, etc

So unless you have a real dependence on cookies or coke, I challenge you to give up something more difficult to really stretch you.

FOR EXAMPLE:  
**give up trashy music for only Christian music
**give up all the apps on your phone except meaningful email and calling
**refrain from gossiping but instead try to say something nice about that person

Prayer is usually what people mean when they say they’re going to DO something for Lent.

Lent is a great time to really push yourself in your prayer life by making daily commitments to prayer.  Lent is a great time to start a new prayer routine...ya know they say 30 days to make a habit.  Oh, and perfect, Lent is 40 for us remedial learners.

EXAMPLE:
**daily Mass
**get to Mass 15 minutes early
**pray the daily readings
**decade of the rosary on weekdays

ALMSGIVING...

What is it?

Giving assistance to the needy, be in money, time or talent.  But not in a show-off kind of way.  These sacrifices remind us of the physical sacrifice Christ made of us, and also reminds us of the Universal church!

EXAMPLE:
**give up Starbucks and donate that money to SVdP
**start tithing -- giving 10% of your income (which you should be do anyway!!!)
**go to the soup kitchen once


Previous years I have done extraordinary things like fasting from all drinks except water and saving that $40 a week to buy sandwiches for the soup kitchen.  Or last year where I did Project Simplify and cleaned out each room of the house purging a minimum of two brown bags from each room.

This year I've discerned that screen time: computer, phone, iPad, tv has become a sin for me.  Not so much that I watch or do sinful things, but that screen time prevents me from doing GOOD.  That good includes: prayer time, quality family time, good conversations with Eric, and neglecting house hold duties.

So for Lent 2013 I am completely fasting from Facebook and eliminating screen time while Eric is home.  This doesn't seem like much compared to previous years, but I've started a new prayer regime with Spiritual Direction, and Eric and I have started a new food lifestyle.  Since these things are a lot to take on already, I did not want to overwhelm myself this year.  Our priest told us that our Lenten sacrifice shouldn't be daunting or impossible, just something to stretch us.

I share these things not to be Holier Than Thou but simply to give ideas.  Some of my best Lenten fasts have been ideas from friends (like project simplify inspired by Kat's 40 days - 40 bags).  And since Fr James Martin lets his friends pick his fast I thought I'd at least let my friends in on mine to help call me to holiness or in hopes to encourage others to go that extra mile!

Happy Fasting (is that such a thing?!?)

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