Forty Days with the Four Pillars

By Katie Mulembe, Catholic Volunteer Network

The Lenten season is here. This is the time of year we are called to renew our hearts and minds through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. In his recent Lenten message, Pope Francis took inspiration from St. Paul, who said “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich." (2 Cor 8:9) He encouraged us to spend these forty days living a life of “evangelical poverty,” meaning that we learn to trust God completely and love others as Jesus loved us. Pope Francis explained “God’s becoming man is a great mystery! But the reason for all this is his love, a love which is grace, generosity, a desire to draw near, a love which does not hesitate to offer itself in sacrifice for the beloved. Charity, love, is sharing with the one we love in all things. Love makes us similar, it creates equality, it breaks  down walls and eliminates distances. God did this with us.”

As a volunteer, living out the four pillars of spirituality, social justice, simplicity, and community living on a daily basis, you are in a unique position to live out Pope Francis’ calling. This year, you have an opportunity to see the season of Lent through new eyes and we invite you to dig deeper into the pillars that carry so much meaning in your volunteer experience. We have compiled this reflection guide to help you along the way. Each week we will share the Gospel reading for that Sunday and offer reflections, prayers, and community activities that will help you take up this call to love others more deeply. The weekly reflections will be posted here on the Friday before the week begins.

Week of Ash Wednesday - March 5-8

First Week of Lent - March 9-15

Second Week of Lent - March 16-22

Third Week of Lent - March 23-29

Fourth Week of Lent - March 30-April 5

Fifth Week of Lent - April 6-12

Holy Week - April 13-19

If you are looking for additional resources to use this Lent, here are some we recommend:
  • Pope Francis' complete Lenten Message is available here.
  • Catholic Apostolate Center offers an extensive list of Lenten resources, including information about the sacrament of penance, the stations of the cross, and many versions of the examination of conscience.
  • If eliminating world hunger is a passion of yours, we encourage you to check out Bread for the World's Lenten Prayers for Hungry People.
  • The editors of Busted Halo have a series titled "5 Authors 40 Days" that share their personal experiences throughout the season of Lent.




Shared Visions is a collaborative effort between Catholic Volunteer Network and Catholic Apostolate Center.