As per our Lenten series on the three great practices of Lent, the final reflection on almsgiving was assigned to Rozann Carter. Follow her to downtown Chicago as she attempts to take an unsteady step beyond a pair of Toms shoes and the annual Operation Rice Bowl.
Father Steve took on fasting. Kerry tackled prayer. Almsgiving? Rozann, that’s yours.
The assignment was fairly simple: set aside time to contemplate and carry out this Lenten custom in a directed way, and then write about it.
Providentially, that blog content meeting—the divvying up of Lenten practices to expound upon on the Word on Fire blog during this penitential season— came on the very same morning of the provocative Gospel reading about the sheep and the goats. Those who did right by the least of their brothers and sisters were named sheep and were ushered into the presence of Christ, while those who ignored the suffering of these least ones were labeled as goats and were cast out to eternal punishment. In that biblical passage, the “least ones” were very specifically named and had tangible needs...
Kerry Trotter has a handle on a lot of things, but regular prayer is not one of them. Taking her cue from her much more pious coworkers, and this most auspicious season of Lent, she decided to give the practice of prayer a legitimate try. Read all about it, today, on the Word on Fire blog.
A low snicker rumbled through the Word on Fire conference room.
Father Steve, Rozann Carter and I were seated for our weekly editorial meeting and discussing who should write about which facet of Lent—fasting, prayer or almsgiving—for our blog.
“Kerry, I’d like you to take on ‘prayer,’” Father Steve said.
I nodded in agreement as he explained the role of prayer in Lenten formation, and suggested ideas for how I might explore the tenet to my advantage during this assignment. He suggested churches I might visit, and gave me pointers on possible photo opportunities.
But all I heard were clicks and beeps.
Full disclosure: I returned to my desk, fired up the ol’ Google machine, and keyed in “how to pray.”
“How to pray”? What sort of heathen idiot are you, Kerry? You simply, as Reverend Lovejoy once said, “drop down and put your knees together,” clasp your hands, bow your head and, you know, ask for stuff.
Bada bing, bada boom. Prayer.
Even I know there’s more to it than that, but I was at a loss as to where to begin. Do I refer to the wealth of spiritual knowledge with and for whom I work, or do I keep my trap shut and quit embarrassing myself? It reminded me of the time I asked Father Barron, “Wait, what is the Incarnation again? Is that the feast day when Mary gets pregnant?” Poor Father Barron. He just stared a moment, blinked, and then gingerly explained it all...