Lent begins on Wednesday, February 6. What can we do to deepen our spiritual lives and help the poor? There are always the regulars, i.e.give up candy, sweets, etc. But the Bible exhorts us to also go beyond ourselves and help the poor. What’s the best way?
I read in an old book yesterday that, “The poor do not need charity: they need inspiration. Charity only sends them a loaf of bread to keep them alive in their wretchedness, or gives them an entertainment to make them forget for an hour or two, but inspiration will cause them to rise out of their misery. If you want to help the poor, demonstrate to them that they can become rich. prove it by getting rich yourself.” Wallace Delois Wattle’s The Science of Getting Rich. 1910.
Now that’s a novel way to celebrate Lent, Get Rich!
But Rich has gotten a bad reputation. The author goes on to explain when one is truly rich spiritually and actually, he has the opportunity to do great good for this world.
Kelly, in a Testament of Devotion, proposes that,“ The deepest need of men is not food and clothing and shelter, important as they are. It is God. We have mistaken the nature of poverty and thought it was economic poverty. No, it is poverty of soul, deprivation of God’s recreating loving peace.”
And so, is it the poor who are lacking God or is it the rich? And is it because the Rich are lacking God, we have the poor? What a dilemma!
The truth is we all need God and without Him there will be no peace for the rich or the poor. And we all need food and shelter!
So for Lent what should you do…
- Make a resolution that you will try to pray always. Say small prayers all day long during Lent. Lift your mind and heart to God all through the day. You’ll need to make some reminders for yourself. St. Frances DeSales’ desk was outside a church that chimed its bells every 15 minutes. He got into the habit of making a spiritual communion every time he heard the chimes. Think of some way you can pray often. Should you fail, it’s ok; just start again. There is no rush; you have 40 days!
- Give one thing away from your closet every day for Lent. Wow! It will be empty by Easter and many poor people in your town will be walking around with some nice clothes and shoes! Who should you give it to? Put the article of clothing in your car. You’ll find some one needy. Put the intention in your mind and the right person will arrive!
At the Religious Teachers Filippini Women Promotion Center in Adigrat, Ethiopia (pictured above) we are trying to inspire young girls to one day be rich! In a good sense! Many of these girls are orphans or single mothers who are trying to avoid a life of prostitution. We train them in many marketable skills so they may become very successful, but also to have faith in themselves, realize God’s abundance abounds and gratitude toward the Good God who made them. Religion is rarely a problem for the poor people that I encounter. They love God and want to honor Him and to do His Will.
This center is unique to Adigrat as it is the only Pizza Gelato Café in the city! The ovens were built by a man who came from Italy who wanted to do something for the poor using his talents! And good benefactors have provided the industrial gelato machine and a vehicle to transport the supplies needed. Recently we had our first graduation ceremony of 21 girls. Fifteen have found work and the remaining five are being helped to secure positions. These girls are going to make it in this world!
Because it is a training center, many poor people in the town are able for the very first time in their lives to taste delicious pizza and have a cool gelato!
Perhaps from this information you too will be inspired to use your special talents to help those in need.
So have a good Lent, pray for the poor and make sacrifices for them!
Write and let me know how your Lent goes!