By Lauren Solidum
As Lent approaches, many may ponder what to “give up.” At Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, we challenge you to “take action” making the season most meaningful for yourself and others.
Our annual “40 Ways, 40 Days” Lenten social media campaign begins on Ash Wednesday.* This year, we take you on a journey through different Catholic social teachings, offering weekly resources, prayers and spiritual reflections. It’s an opportunity to learn about our programs and engage with our mission.
We begin by focusing on the life and dignity of the human person. Every individual is created in God’s image and therefore is invaluable and worthy of respect. The measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
Each of us has a call to love our own family and to support laws, policies and agencies that benefit it. Strong, healthy families form strong, healthy societies. We are also called to spread Christ’s message AND alleviate suffering for others. When we share our Christian values, we are giving witness to the Gospel and can therefore transform society for the greater good.
Next, the focus shifts to prioritizing the well-being of those less fortunate so that they can become more active participants in society. The deprivation and powerlessness of the poor wounds communities, as everyone has the right to possess a sufficient amount of good for themselves and their family.
One way to possess good is through work. The Catholic Church believes that work is more than a way to make a living. The ability to work and earn a fair, livable wage honors the dignity of the human person. The economy exists to serve people — not the other way around. It’s important to defend the rights of workers so that they have safe working conditions, can adequately take care of their families and contribute to society.
We are reminded that we must be in solidarity in recognizing others as our brothers and sisters in Christ and actively working for their good, understanding what life is like for them: the poorest, most vulnerable and overlooked, wherever they are in the world. As a human family, we must work together for the well-being of all to ensure everyone has what they need to live with dignity. Solidarity also includes the call to welcome the stranger among us — including immigrants seeking work, a safe home, education for their children and a dignified life for their families.
Our campaign concludes with a reminder that we must not only be concerned for one another, but also for the earth. We can all be more mindful of sustainable practices that allow us to provide greater care for all creation.