When most people think about Lent they think about fasting. Lent equals giving up pleasures. But, Lent is just as much about taking something up as it is laying something down. It’s about giving….giving up, giving in, forgiving…
Last year we shared 40 Things You Should Clean-Up For Lent.
This is a year of mercy. Making mercy a focal point of Lent is a beautiful sanctifying challenging thing. Here are 40 ways you can bring more mercy into your Lent:
1. Donate food (food that you’d actually like to eat, not the stuff in the back of the cupboard that no one wants to touch) to the local food bank.
2. Donate hats, gloves, blankets, etc. to the local homeless shelter.
3. Take diapers, formula, toys, etc. to the local women’s shelter.
4. Love your enemies.
5. Pray for your enemies.
6. Pray for your neighbors. (Hopefully they are not the same people as numbers 4 and 5.)
7. Give an extra offering at church.
8. Try to understand (or at least listen compassionately to) an opposing political, cultural or religious point of view.
9. If you knit or crochet, make a baby blanket or two for the local pregnancy support center.
10. Take a hot cup of joe to the school crossing guard in the morning.
11. Go to Confession.
12. Forgive yourself.
13. Let go of the past.
14. Refrain from entering that debate on Facebook.
15. Visit someone who is housebound.
16. Visit a rest home with flowers, cookies or homemade cards. (See the beautiful example of Hope Blossoms)
17. Send a letter to a foreign missionary.
18. Refrain from honking at the reckless driver who cuts you off on the freeway.
19. Wash your spouse’s car.
20. Tell that big loud family that sits in front of you at church that you love seeing them there.
21. Write to Christians imprisoned for their faith. (Prisoner Alert via Voice of the Martyrs)
22. Volunteer to read at story time at the library.
23. Share the Gospel with your friends and neighbors.
24. Refuse to argue with your spouse, kids, parents, etc.
25. Pray for your pastor
26. Pray for strangers. Make some sandwiches or sack lunches to deliver to the needy holding signs by the freeway.
27. Invite the new family in the neighborhood over for dinner.
30. Plan ahead and make lunch for your spouse so that he/she can have a home cooked meal for lunch.
31. Write a thank-you note to one of your teachers, counselors or spiritual directors.
32. Let your kids sleep in a time or two.
33. Downsize your wardrobe and donate to the needy.
34. Eat humble pie. Apologize for past wrongs.
35. Pray with the saints.
36. Is there a struggling teen in your parish? Set up a time to meet with him/her and then listen with an open heart.
37. Take your kids out and pick up trash at the local park.
38. Set up a phone garage where everyone in the family can place their phones when they’re at home. Have family time.
39. Take the first step and call that family member or friend who hasn’t made time to reach out to you first.
40. Purpose to smile instead of frown, it just might make the difference in someone’s day.
the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8