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Action Steps | Sunday April 13, 2014

Taking Personal Action

Gratitude & Generosity

Our Lenten practice in almsgiving this week is to explore new ways of opening our hearts to gratitude and generosity.

Throughout Lent we have been discerning ways God might be calling us to embrace Gospel justice and protect creation by living more simply, reducing consumption and wasting less. Now at the end of Lent, it is an occasion to spend – and spend lavishly! Spend time getting involved in projects for the common good. Spend energy advocating for causes you believe in. Spend money to support organizations working to care for creation and promote justice. The opportunities are many. Challenge yourself to be charitable and act on behalf of the common good. 

If you can do only one thing … 

Join the microfinance movement – fund a loan for at least $25. Online organizations like Kiva.org or Opportunity International offer possibilities for making loans to people in the developing world. You can do something about alleviating poverty by making an online loan. Plus, Kiva Gift Certificates make great birthday or Easter gifts. 

Connect

  • Practice acts of social kindness – pick up litter, watch your neighbor’s kids for free, visit a shut-in or someone in a nursing home, coordinate a meal for someone who has lost a loved one or is ill.
  • Go out of your way to make contact with a person of another race, nationality, creed or life-style. Consider inviting them for a meal. Read Ephesians 2:11-22.
  • Vote with your wallet. Purchase Fair Trade. Avoid products tainted by sweat shop labor. With each purchase you can vote for businesses that respect God’s creation and ensure equitable pay for their laborers. 
  • Plant a tree native to your region. Tree planting is a personal investment in caring for creation.
  • Volunteer with an organization working on behalf of social justice, environmental sustainability or spiritual fulfillment within your community. 

Advocate 

  • Use your voice to speak on behalf of the poor, the unborn of future generations, the immigrant, the Earth and those marginalized by our society.
  • Learn how to uproot causes of inequity and change policies to help lift people out of poverty. Look into opportunities at Catholic Relief Services, Tearfund, Micah Challenge or Lazarus at the Gate.
  • Speak to the powerful. Urge elected officials to support legislation making justice and creation-care a priority.  

Share

  • Give to a project you care about. Information on vetted charities is available online. Wise Giving Alliance can help you make informed decisions about giving, including an in-depth report on national charities.
  • Contribute to Operation Rice Bowl. For ways to make a difference in peoples' lives year-round, join the Catholic Relief Services Advocacy Network.
  • Adopt a refugee family that has moved into your area. Contribute furniture, household items or clothing to help settle immigrant families.
Imagine if the Earth were divided equally among all of us. Each person would receive 4.5 acres. Now imagine that everything you need – food, energy, home, clothing, gadgets – must come from those 4.5 acres. But it takes 22.3 acres to maintain the average American lifestyle.There is a new way of observing Lent that helps us care for God’s creation by taking steps toward using only our fair share of its resources. Moving in the direction of 4.5 is essential for anyone walking in the footsteps of Jesus today.

Our Ministry

Lent 4.5 is a seven-week faith formation program which inspires and informs Christian communities on how to use the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to protect God’s creation, embrace Gospel justice and nurture spiritual fulfillment. It offers practical opportunities for people of faith to apply the values of Christian Simplicity to their everyday lives.


This Week...

If There’s Only One Thing You Can Do …

Join the microfinance movement--fund a loan for at least $25.

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