Lent is just around the corner! The annual desert journey calls Christians back to their most intimate and essential selves as children of God. It is a time to pray, fast and give alms, insofar as these traditional practices open within us a humble honesty about the current trajectory of our life's journey, and serve our neighbors.
There are plenty of spiritual "tools" to accompany Catholic Christians during their Lenten journey. One of the best comes from our good friends and collaborators at the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace – Caritas Canada.
It's called a Solidarity Calendar, and functions much like an Advent calendar (minus the chocolate of course!). Each day we are given a small task, reflection, prayer or action, all developed around the theme of becoming peace-builders through dialogue. For the S+L generation and the eco-minded, there's even an App to help you stay on track!
"We all need to ask ourselves this question..." they propose, "How am I, on a daily basis, an instrument of peace for myself, for the people I’m in contact with, whether it be those in my family, my community, or my workplace, and for my sisters and brothers in the Global South?"
Pope Francis is widely regarded as the most credible peace-builder in the world today. Why? Because he promotes dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. How? Not only through words, but through little actions and gestures each day.
This Lent, Canadian Catholics can take a big step towards peace by taking little steps everyday. Thanks D&P for another great Lenten tool, and for reminding us that "Peace requires introspection," and for bringing us into dialogue with our partners in the Global South who really live integral human development!
We PRAY to grow close to God, the source of our strength and the inspiration for how we live in the world.
We FAST from things that distract us from God, and we turn our attention to the priorities in our lives.
We GIVE ALMS because we are inspired by God’s love of every part of His creation. We respond with charity–helping others in their need–and justice–being transformed ourselves, in order to bring about the Kingdom of God.
Engaging in dialogue means being ready to accept the coexistence of two valid opposing truths. It means having the courage to meet the other halfway and to put yourself in their shoes. It means recognizing that the other is similar to us and is our sister or brother, and not an instrument to serve our purposes. We must first venture to the deepest parts of ourselves in order to pacify our hearts, open our minds, measure the scope of our words, and establish a sincere and genuine dialogue with “the other.”
Development and Peace - Caritas Canada