After meeting Jesus, the bible tells us the Magi returned to their country “by another way”. We’ve all been challenged to reimagine new ways to live out our faith. This Epiphany ornament is an invitation to rethink how you honor and serve Christ alive in the world today. Pray the prayer on the front and choose one (or a couple!) of the ideas below and commit to trying something new this year. 

Below you will find the ideas listed on our Epiphany Ornament along with some links and additional ideas to help get you started!

 

  • Engage in conversation with someone you disagree with… listen and ask lots of questions.
    • Don’t be afraid to open up communication with someone who has different political, religious or other viewpoints.  Enter the conversation from a stance of wanting to understand, rather than be understood. 
    • Watch this short video on Compassionate Conversations CLICK HERE 
    • Read what Pope Francis has to say on the importance of listening CLICK HERE 
    • Consider a deeper dive into the issue of polarization and how we as Catholics can respond CLICK HERE

 

  • Commit to making one small change to simplify your lifestyle, a conscious effort to be in solidarity with those that lack basic needs. 
    • Sacrifices made with an intentional spiritual connection to God or someone who is in need, can help us grow in our compassion and understanding for how much of the world lives. Here’s some ideas you can try: 
      • Consider sitting on the floor instead of the furniture.  Much of the furniture we use on a daily basis is a luxury for many. 
      • Turn off the lights and work by natural light. 
      • Sleep on the floor one night. Many homes in developing countries do not have multiple bedrooms, let alone the space for a permanent bed with a mattress and box spring. Many sleep on a mat or cot that can either be rolled up or used for other purposes.
      • Shower with cold water or by filling a bucket with water and use a cup to pour. The national average of water used for showering in American homes is 24 gallons. According to the World Bank, 1.1 billion people lack access to clean water. 
      • Turn off or turn down the heat or air conditioning. The luxury of living in a controlled temperature environment is something that we take for granted. Experiencing the discomfort of a cold or hot house for a few hours may help us appreciate the comfort of indoor heating and cooling that we take for granted. 
      • Fast from technology that we sometimes use to shut out the present moment, including: TV, cell phone and Internet. By turning off our TV, our cell phone and Internet, for a couple hours or a whole day, we are experiencing the reality of life for the majority of the world that does not have access to these modern conveniences. It can also help us connect in new ways with the people around us. 
      • Go vegetarian for the week. For most of the 1.3 billion people living in extreme poverty around the world, the opportunity to eat meat is an unimaginable luxury. Going an entire week without eating meat and preparing simple foods for all meals can be a powerful reminder of how many of our brothers and sisters live. Eating more consciously can also help the environment!
      • Take public transportation, ride a bike or carpool. Or better yet, WALK! Sharing a ride can serve as a clear reminder of how much more effort others have to make to get to work or receive an education. Additionally, finding a more energy efficient way for daily travel is a great opportunity to reflect on our daily environmental impact. 
    • Pray this prayer to be in greater solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. CLICK HERE 

 

  • Call to mind an organization you have donated to or volunteered with. Research what is being done to eliminate the root cause of this issue and create systematic change. 
    • Learn more about the Church’s teaching on the difference between Charity and Justice CLICK HERE 
    • Root Issues to consider: Poverty, Discimination, Income Inequality, Lack of Education, Food Insecurity, Human Rights, Human Dignity.  Research what advocacy work is being done at a local and national level. 
    • Write letters, send faxes, tweet, or call local and federal politicians. Don’t know who to contact or what to say? Contact an organization you have worked with or given to and ask them what sort of help they need at that level. 

 

  • Make a special effort to reach out to or include someone who may be an “outsider” or lonely.
    • Consider someone at work, church or even in your own family who may feel lonely, isolated or discriminated against. Reach out and help them feel welcome and appreciated. 
      • Make a phone call
      • Send a letter
      • Give a positive comment on social media
      • Simply say hi and make eye contact
      • Invite someone to share a meal (when it’s safe!) 
    • Consider your own circles. Are they diverse and inclusive to a wide range of people? Is there any room for improvement or growth in this area? 
    • Watch the short video on building a community of kinship by Fr. Greg Boyle CLICK HERE or learn more about his projects in LA or read one of his books CLICK HERE 

 

  • Choose a disposable item you use often and commit to replacing it with a reusable one. 
    • Small changes can make a big difference CLICK HERE
    • Don’t forget to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle! CLICK HERE 
    • Check out Pope Francis’s thoughts on the environment as expressed in his Encyclical “Laudato Si: Care for our Common Home”. CLICK HERE  

 

  • Your Idea!

This parish is full of compassionate and creative people! Does this list of ideas help spark something inside of you? Can you think of something else you’d like to try this year to choose “another way”?  Share your ideas or stories with us at sharethestory(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)stpatcc.org