Lenten offering | Inquirer News

Lenten offering

09:13 AM March 17, 2012

“Finally, my most awaited DVD collection has come out!” Jeff barged into the kitchen showing his wife the set of DVDs he had just bought. “I can now watch my favorite Disney classics in the comfort of home.”

“SHHHH! Not so loud, honey!” Sandra glared at her husband.

“Hey, what’s the matter, Ursula? Can’t I relive my childhood cartoons again?”


“I said, NOT SOOO LOUD.” Her whisper sounded coarse as she tried her best not to be heard.


“What’s the matter, dear? Surely…,”

“If you’re going to want to watch these,” she pointed at the DVDs, “then you had better ask Lucy’s permission first. Did you forget, knuckle-head?” she said, tapping his balding head.


“Whaaat?” he said, giving her a bewildered look.


“Why would I have to ask her…,”

“Because it’s Lent, dear Gaston,” she finally spoke in a normal tone.

“OH! How silly of me, I almost forgot.” Jeff started looking around to check if anyone was listening to their conversation.

“Don’t worry, the coast is clear, spaceboy. She’s up in her room studying for her exams.,” said Sandra who returned to her kitchen work.

Jeff went off to their bedroom and kept the DVDs in a drawer. Quietly, he approached his daughter’s room.

“Is that you daddy?” Lucy asked in a soft voice without looking at him.

“Ah, huh…yeah, it’s me? How…?” he was quite surprised how she knew. “Nothin’, I just heard you and mom talking,” she said, still scribbling in her notebook.

“Ah, so you heard us?”

“Uh-huh,” she said, nodding her head.

“I was, kindda thinking of asking you if it would be okay if mom and I watch some movies, dear?”

“Mom and you? Or just you?” Jeff never ceased to be amazed with her perceptive queries.

“Yeah, I, er…guess, just me then…,” he said as he cratched his head chuckling.

“But you promised to help me live my Lenten offering,” said Lucy, who stopped writing.

“Yup, that’s why I’m asking your permission. I promise to close the door so you wouldn’t hear the sound,” Jeff said.

“But that wouldn’t be fair, coz I would be imagining how much you’d be enjoying the show.”

“That’s why it’s called a Lenten offering, dear,” her dad tried to explain.

“And that’s why I need you to help me, dad,” she pleaded.

* * *

With the season of Lent, Christians customarily strive to offer up or sacrifice something. But one need not wait for Lent in order to do spiritually healthy practices. Moreover, an offering is not only a matter of giving up something and casually resuming with them when Lent is over. That would be simply a lack of authentic generosity and self-giving.

The idea of sacrificing (i.e. not listening to music, skipping video games, not eating sweets, abstaining from Facebook, etc.) just because it’s Lent is a poor understanding of the season’s true meaning. Lent is there to help purify us, to acquire the dispositions for conversion and prepare ourselves for Jesus’ Resurrection. Sacrifice cannot be lived for its own sake but must allow the person to grow in other aspects of his interior life, that is, to become like Christ.

Now sacrifice isn’t the only ingredient for one’s faith to grow and to become like Jesus. Saint Peter Chrysologus says, “There are three things, my brethren, by which faith stands firm, devotion remains constant, and virtue endures. They are prayer, fasting and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting: these three are one, and they give life to each other.

Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others ,you open God’s ear to yourself.”

The season of Lent affords us another graced occasion to launch ourselves in the wonderful enterprise of our spiritual growth. But we have to strive to open ourselves more to the grace of conversion. And it also means counting on the help of our loved ones – like Lucy’s parents – so that living Lent may be seasoned with communion, love and self-giving.

* * *

“Okay, but can I watch National Geographic instead,” said Jeff who winked at his daugther mischievously.

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“That’s cheating!” she said as she jumped and tackled her dad into her bed. [GIGGLING!]


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