Lenten Penance and Sacrifice as a Dominican Friar (Part 3)

Lenten Penance and Sacrifice as a Dominican Friar (Part 3)

It allows us to be solidarity with the poor

We’re mid-way through Lent; the challenge of Lenten sacrifice is in full-swing. Whether it is due to an insatiable craving for dessert, or an afternoon pick-up with my favorite variety of soft drink, the knowledge that I have decided to turn the radio off for my commute, or even the knowledge that a cold shower awaits me after I crawl out of bed, I am asking WHY!!!???? You may be asking that too.

1. Why do we as Catholics strive to live penitential lives?

2. Why do we decide to take on acts of penance? (In other words, how can we do penance most faithfully?)

Good news!  This blog seeks to answer the two above questions and to help us have a better Lent (and hopefully faith life). See Part 1 here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 of 5 is below.

It allows us to be solidarity with the poor

Whether giving up meat one or two nights a week, resisting the urge to snack, or simply taking a cold shower every day for forty days, penitential practices can help us to place ourselves in the shoes of the poor in our cities, countries and world. Hopefully, these penitential practices can help us gain a small appreciation for how fortunate we are by observing some of the realities of others’ lives.

This also is an opportunity for us to consider giving alms for the less fortunate.  Our Dominican community supports Catholic Relief Services, and their work overseas. We contribute as a community from the money we save by not purchasing snacks during Lent, as well as by spending less on our Saturday communal meals. We also are encouraged to sacrifice and donate from our own personal allowances.

I invite you this Lent to do something for the poor. Maybe it’s contributing to a food or clothing drive; maybe it’s volunteering in a soup kitchen; maybe it’s donating money to a charity that assists the poor locally or globally. I would also encourage you to do an action, even if just once a week, of ‘going without.’ Maybe forego fresh fruits or vegetables or meat for one meal a week.  Or maybe, take a cold shower once a week. These actions, or any others you might choose, will not be done for their own sake, but to better identify with our suffering Lord in the materially poor of this world.

“Let devotion accompany all your studies, and study less to make yourself learned than to become a saint.” – St. Vincent Ferrer

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