LENT – 40 days with the 40 least

A powerful social justice Lenten program from Spain focuses on the 40 least economically developed countries. 40 Days with the 40 Least is a collaborative effort of the Marianist Family in Spain.  It has grown over the years and is now available in Spanish, English, French and Portuguese. Just click on the calendar for each day`s resources.

This year`s theme is on health care. According to the web-site,

In the year 2000, in the Millennium Summit of the United Nations, eight ambitious “Millennium Development Goals” (MDG) were set to be accomplished by 2015.  Those goals committed the governments to establish policies that would favor the development of all peoples and “to free our fellow human beings… from the dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty.”  Well, three of the eight MDG’s make direct reference to health.  Development and health go together inseparably.

Each day, we are invited to visit a different country through the first-hand experience of a person working on the ground. We learn about a specific social justice project that attempts to address the needs of health care. We learn about some of the issues faced in international development. We are called to respond in a small way with concrete actions of our own. And, we are invited to unite with our sisters and brothers through prayer.

I followed the program last year with my own small faith community. I was humbled by my lack of geographical knowledge. I was introduced to countries that I hadn`t even heard of, countries that depend on our support and aid. I was inspired by the work that is being done quietly and effectively around the world. The stories were both heart-breaking, and heart-lifting. We cannot save the whole world, but maybe we can find one small place where we, too, can make a difference. And what better time to contemplate changing minds and hearts then in this season of Lent?

For more information about the Marianist Family around the world, click here.