A special way to give alms this Lenten season, one woman at a time

The season of Lent is a tradition in Christianity offering a time to turn back to God (also known as repentance). Once viewed from a strictly negative perspective (guilt over sins, giving up chocolate or some other treat during the 40 days before Easter), the very perception of Lent is being transformed into a great gift for the person who wishes to embark on the journey. For it is a journey of the heart to conversion and live-giving transformation.

I look forward to Lent despite the custom in our household to forgo meat for 40 days. I miss greasy cheeseburgers and juicy chicken sometimes but there’s something purifying about focusing on vegetables with a sprinkling of pasta and rice. The benefit of a gentler diet and less calories is a nice tradeoff.

The Transfiguration - from flickr, by fantartsy JJ *2013 year of LOVE!*
The Transfiguration – from flickr, by fantartsy JJ *2013 year of LOVE!*

I am familiar with the cycle of readings for Lent as I used to plan music every Sunday for mass. It always struck me as hopeful to read during the second Sunday of Lent the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor in front of three of  his disciples. I imagine I would have been babbling nonsense too like Peter were I seeing my teacher and master suddenly glorified in a heavenly body while a Voice from above exhorted me to “listen to Him.”

And that’s where conversion and transformation begins, with listening. Tuning into that small voice inside where Jesus dwells. But in order to hear, the noise needs to be turned down, the life made simpler.

It begins with listening and translates into action. I am asked to first dig down deep inside to that sacred place where He dwells; once fed I am asked to step out of myself so I can share that nourishing love with others.

The Church asks three things of the Lenten pilgrim: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. For me, prayer is carving out spaces in my busy day to just be still, to listen and then, to ponder. Fasting is, yes, giving up things, but in an effort to shed those extras that hold me back from listening to the Still, Soft Voice. And almsgiving? Carrying out those things that my Lord has instructed me to do during those times when I listen. Giving generously of time and treasure.

Today I was presented with a beautiful opportunity for almsgiving and I’d like to share it with you. It is being done through Catholicmom.com in partnership with Ave Maria Press:

catholicmom.com project

The goal of this project is to provide spiritual support to expectant mothers. Catholicmom.com and Ave Maria Press hope to send 50 copies of A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy—a week-by-week spiritual companion for pregnant women—to 20 pregnancy centers around the United States. Your donations will be used solely to help them achieve this goal.

a catholic mother's companion to pregnancyYou can find out more about this worthy initiative here.

Pregnancy can be a challenging time even in the most desirable circumstances. The expectant mothers whom this project seeks to support are often scared, lacking in financial resources, and needing guidance, love and care. They are courageous in their desire to resist societal pressure and bring their babies to term.

Sarah A. Reinhard, the author of A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy is well acquainted with the needs of these women. She writes,  “I used to volunteer in a pregnancy center. It broke my heart. After I had my own kids, women who seek help from pregnancy centers became an even more intimate part of my prayers. To share my book with them is the least I can do.”

By simply donating $10 or more, these women can receive spiritual guidance that will help them on their difficult journey.

I see this as a wonderful way to participate in the almsgiving that our Lord desires during this season of Lent.

Visit The Catholicmom.com Project if you would like to help send this wonderful book to women in need. The pregnancy centers offer material help and moral support. You can aid in providing needed spiritual support.

Thanks for your help on this.

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