Laetare Sunday means we’re 2/3 of the way there! The Church invites us to grow in holiness during Lent through three practices: Fasting, Prayer, and Almsgiving. We began the #SmartFreedom Challenge focusing on fasting: intermittent detachment from our phones—some forms of detachment more painful than others. Last week we added intentional prayer into our routine. Week 4 brings us a new challenge--a look at almsgiving.
In order to better detach ourselves from our phones, we want to also detach ourselves from the ease, comfort, and expediency of phone-related commerce. Sometimes when we can just click, click, click, our troubles away... we're often not even shopping for items we need or even reeeeally want--if we wanted/needed them we wouldn't be surprised by every new box we find sitting on our doorstep... How often do we order things on our phones when we're tired, bored, or both?
This week we will fast from spending money through our phones. No frivolous shopping, no sale-chasing, no spending any money through our phones for one week (again--prudence. You know what you need. But the key word here is need.) When we are tempted to scroll through and mindlessly spend, we invite you to reflect on the Corporal Works of Mercy:
Monday: Feed the Hungry
With all of the dollars we’re saving not clicking our way to happiness, we can afford to take someone out to lunch! Today’s challenge is to reach out a friend that is hungry for companionship (spoiler alert—that’s anyone!)
Tuesday: Give Drink to the Thirsty
"[I THIRST.] We have these words in every chapel of the Missionaries of Charity to remind us what an MC is here for: to quench the thirst of Jesus for souls, for love, for kindness, for compassion, for delicate love.” —Mother Teresa. Who can you be kind to today? Who is thirsting for love? For Truth? Beauty? Goodness? Whose thirst can you quench with the love of Christ?
Wednesday: Shelter the Homeless
Today we spend. Rather than ordering our favorite amazon items or Walmart pick up for yourself, look up a wishlist from a local charity. I recommend checking out the Amazon Wishlists for Catholic Charities of Acadiana.
Thursday: Clothe the Naked
Let’s be honest—we all have too much stuff. Let’s get rid of it! Today’s challenge is to rid yourself of 30 items. These don’t have to be clothes... but clothes are a great place to start. Once you get started, you'll wish the challenge had been for 300 items!
Friday: Visit the Sick
We often find ourselves posting prayer requests for the sick and the suffering on social media. We then face that awkward moment where we click Like or Love, hoping to communicate our thoughts and prayers and not approval or joy to see people suffering. Today instead of virtually posting and thumbs-upping our prayers, let's actually visit the sick. Now you may not know anyone right now that is physically ill, but we do have plenty of people in our life suffering with depression, loneliness, and other infirmities. Think through your list of friends and acquaintances. Who could benefit from a phone call? Or better yet a visit? Reach out--you never know who needs a warm meal, or cup of coffee, or conversation.
Saturday: Visit the Imprisoned
So much human contact this week! Don't you love it? Who are the imprisoned in your life? Most likely the addicted. While there are many types of addiction, we have been spending the last month's worth of days working on our own addiction... to our SmartPhones!! Let's turn to our fellow SmartPhone addicts and offer them some temporary relief. Today's challenge is to unchain a friend from their phone. Possible ideas: call a friend for lunch, and afternoon walk, other activity where phones aren't necessary and challenge them to turn their phone off for the duration of the outing. Note: Don't be judgy about it--after a month of embracing our own poverty in this area, we know the struggle. Tell your friend that YOUR challenge today is to get another buddy to take a minitech sabbath with you. They will thank you later!
Sunday: Bury the Dead
The only thing we fear more than death is a dead phone. Today we give our phones a rest with a 3 Hour Phone Fast. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, 3 hours. You can do it. Bonus Challenge: See how long you can go with it off... I took an 8 hour tech sabbath recently and it was GLORIOUS! Note: remind the people who will think you're dead that you're turning off your phone! Otherwise they will attempt to bury you before your time.
#SmartFreedom Challenge Checklist:
Week Two we added Three Additional Practices (if you failed miserably, try again this week!):
No phone as an alarm for waking up in the morning.
No phone one hour before bedtime.
No phone for one hour after you wake up.
Last week we add one more challenge: No Phones while conversing with other people.
Example: Human Person walks up to you and starts a conversation. Phone goes in your pocket or purse.
Example: Your daughter has a question about something. Phone goes in your pocket or purse.
Example: Your son can't find his shoes, again. Phone goes in your pocket or purse.
Example: Your fill in the blank says fill in the blank to you. Phone goes in your pocket or purse.
This challenge is not limited to friends and family... checkout girls, bag boys, receptionists, mechanics, donut shop workers (bless them), government employees (even those at the DMV), co-workers, zombies, husbands, other people in the #SmartFreedom Challenge, etc.
REPEAT LAST WEEK’S Prayer Challenge: Less posting + More praying.
The only way to find our Identity in Christ is to spend some time in relationship with Him.
MONDAY: Phone goes off for 10 minutes. Take this 10 minutes for uninterrupted Prayer.
TUESDAY: Phone goes off for 20 minutes. Take this 20 minutes for uninterrupted Prayer.
WEDNESDAY: Phone goes off for 30 minutes. Take this 30 minutes for uninterrupted Prayer.
THURSDAY: Phone goes off for 40 minutes. Take this 40 minutes for uninterrupted Prayer.
FRIDAY: Phone goes off for 50 minutes. Take this 50 minutes for uninterrupted Prayer.
SATURDAY: Phone goes off for 60 minutes. Take this 60 minutes for uninterrupted Prayer.