As we continue our journey through this Lent, Louise the Parish Secretary at Holy Cross & St Patrick RC Church in Plumstead reflects on abstinence during this time and the power of our Forty for Forty donation campaign in her What Lent means to me reflection..….
For Christians, Lent is a period of reflection and self-analysis in preparation for Easter, mirroring the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert before setting out on His ministry. It is designed to make us better people. This period of 40 days, a duty for every Christian, is characterised by prayer, abstinence and almsgiving. It is also an ideal time to re-read the Bible and develop our understanding of the Scriptures; there is always a new message to be found when we do this on a regular basis.
When I was a child, I was always encouraged to give something up for Lent – I have to admit it wasn’t too difficult to give up chocolate, which made the prospect of Easter eggs all the more enjoyable! The idea of giving something up is partly to develop empathy for those less fortunate than ourselves, but also to detach ourselves from the material aspects of the world around us and focus more on, and nurture, our spiritual self.
I hear many adult friends, even now, talk about what they are giving up for Lent, the most popular being alcohol, and I really do admire anyone who can keep up this abstinence for the whole 40 days. It does need a good deal of self-discipline and determination.
Without denigrating the benefits of abstinence, however, now I am older, I try and do something more positive during Lent to help others.
People often challenge the existence of God, especially a loving God, citing poverty, natural disasters and suffering as evidence of this. I firmly believe that God created this beautiful and bountiful world and created every individual human being as well to be agents of His providence to others.
That’s why I think the Greenwich Foodbank is so important because it gives those who cannot get personally involved themselves in charitable works, the opportunity to support those who can. In particular, this year’s AdLent campaign (where we are asked to buy a different item each day) reminds us to think about the needs of others on a daily basis. Whilst it is sad that people have to resort to food banks for their living, the Greenwich Foodbank enables us all to share what we have with others in our local area, truly our neighbours.
No single person, no matter how wealthy, will ever be able to solve the whole world’s poverty. The beauty of this simple but brilliant idea of a local foodbank is that everybody can do their little bit and make big things happen.
As parish secretary of Holy Cross and St Patrick in Plumstead, I find myself in a privileged position because, as well as donating a daily item to the Foodbank, I can also promote it through the weekly parish newsletter, often highlighting items that are most urgently needed, and I am happy to say that our parishioners always respond generously so that we can regularly deliver several bags of food.
Greenwich Foodbank is extremely grateful for the continued support and regular donations from everyone at Holy Cross and St Patrick #thankyou