Charity for This Lent

At Gethsemane, Jesus accepted the will of God. “Then, an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength.” (Lk 22:43) From there, the Passion began.

If Lent is about preparing ourselves to participate in the Passion of Christ, then in addition to accepting the will of God just as Jesus did at Gethsemane, we should also help one another to give each other strength. 

In the last few days, as various cities, provinces and countries began their efforts to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, severe measures were put in place to limit contact between people, drastically changing their lives.  I think most of us have accepted the importance of social distancing. However, there is a sense of fear about the uncertainties gripping all of us. If people were not afraid earlier, now they are starting to feel anxious as they go grocery shopping and see the empty shelves, or have trouble buying necessities, such as toilet paper, salt and cooking oil.  That grocery run can drain you of all energy, especially if you need to line up for the cashier all around the store.  There are a lot of social media posts urging people to help our neighbours in need. Indeed, it is good to know of the many responses to those posts to be angels giving strength to others.  I think that for some of us, we can lift the spirit of ourselves and others in the household, just by doing little things. As St. Thérèse of Lisieux would say that even the smallest flowers would bring delights to Jesus. Besides, these delights may be part of your self-care strategies to get yourself out of the sad moods too!

For the last few days, I have tried:

1. Cleaning up the yard and decorating flower beds with cheap dollar store goods. It’s still too cold for anything to grow out there, but a splash of colour acts as a feast for the eyes.

2. Make interesting meals by changing the presentation of the food.  For instance, I made mini-burgers and I put food in tortilla wraps.

3. Baking. Nothing beats the aroma of fresh baked goods in the house!  It will automatically draw everyone into the kitchen.

These are some ways to spark joy.  I am sure there are many other ways and I will need to be creative enough for the next few weeks. In any case, they act like candies for the soul!

This Lent, rather than only focusing on sacrificing and praying to prepare for the Passion, we ought to also think about the charity of being little delights for others around us. Candies and treats come in all different shapes and forms, but they will give strength for others to participate in the Passion!

How would you strengthen others to participate in the Passion this year?

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