Great Lent

From the Matins of Holy Tuesday:

Behold O my soul! The Master entrusts to you a talent. Receive the gift with fear; lend to Him who gave it; distribute to the poor, and gain the Lord as a Friend; that you may stand on His right, when He comes in glory, and hear His blessed voice: “Enter, O servant, into the joy of Your Lord!” In Your great Mercy, O Savior, deem me, who has strayed, worthy of this joy.

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Is not this the fast that I choose: …Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am.

Isaiah 58:6-9

consume less + give more

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(From a reader): In our efforts to connect fasting + almsgiving, we found The Food Stamp Challenge, which challenges others to eat on the food budget of those who receive Food Stamps, or roughly $1 per meal per person. I found a wealth of meal-planning tips online and also used When You Fast by Catherine Mandell. We sometimes exceeded the $1 per meal guideline, but we still saved that first year more than 25% of our normal food budget. When I shopped, I made it a habit to spend 25% of my budget on food for our Food Bank and/or our local food pantry or local homeless. At the end of Lent we made a donation of the rest of our savings.

This Great Lent, we invite you to an intentional practice of the connection between fasting and almsgiving. We’ll be adding to the blog every few days with what we hear from our readers who are taking the Almsgiving Challenge to consume less + give more. Please email us at info@everygoodandperfectgift.org with details about how you plan to put the Almsgiving Challenge into practice. We’ll share your experience anonymously with our readers.

Take the Almsgiving Challenge

This Great Lent, we invite you to an intentional practice of the connection between fasting and almsgiving.

In the day on which you fast you will taste nothing but bread and water; and having reckoned up the price of the dishes of that day which you intended to have eaten, you will give it to a widow, or an orphan, or to some person in want, and thus you will exhibit humility of mind, so that he who has received benefit from your humility may fill his own soul, and pray for you to the Lord. If you observe fasting, as I have commanded you, your sacrifice will be acceptable to God, and this fasting will be written down; and the service thus performed is noble, and sacred, and acceptable to the Lord. These things, therefore, shall you thus observe with your children, and all your house, and in observing them you will be blessed; and as many as hear these words and observe them shall be blessed; and whatsoever they ask of the Lord they shall receive.

From the Shepherd of Hermas, Book III, a second century early Christian text, considered scriptural by many of the Church Fathers of the time

For the second year, EveryGoodandPerfectGift.org is challenging our readers to consume less + give more this Great Lent. We will be sharing feedback from our readers each week with concrete, practical suggestions for making the connection between fasting + almsgiving. Email us at info@everygoodandperfectgift.org with details about how you plan to put the Almsgiving Challenge into practice (we’ll share your experience anonymously with our readers.)

almsgiving challenge

Sunday of Orthodoxy

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Come let us cleanse ourselves by almsgiving and acts of mercy to the poor,
Not sounding a trumpet or making a show of our charity.
Let not our left hand know what our right hand is doing;
Let not vainglory scatter the fruit of our almsgiving;
But in secret let us call on Him that knows all secrets;
Father, forgive us our trespasses, for Thou lovest mankind.

From the Sunday of Orthodoxy Matins 

PRODSON

While fasting with the body, brethren, let us also fast in spirit.
Let us loose every bond of iniquity ;
Let us undo the knots of every contract made by violence;
Let us tear up all unjust agreements;
Let us give bread to the hungry
And welcome to our house the poor who have no roof to cover them,
That we may receive great mercy from Christ our God.

From the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, Wednesday of the First Week

Blessed is he that comes in the Name of the Lord!

As we look toward Palm Sunday, we are reminded that the children sang “hosanna” while their fathers shouted “let Him be crucified.” Children threw their garments down for Christ to pass, while their fathers divided Christ’s garments. St. Paul calls us to be childlike, with pure hearts, rejecting evil thoughts.

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What wondrous gifts our God has given us! In this poster series of the 12 major feasts, each icon is explored for its wealth of spiritual meaning. In particular, they highlight the role of God’s creation in giving back to Him in thanksgiving. To view all 12 posters, click here.

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