Originally created on March 1, 2009 (Updated Feb. 17, 2010 and again Feb. 18, 2018)
A scarcity mentality can darken our joy and blind us to the abundance that is before us. We need to break through the chains that captivate us in selfishness. Certainly, God is the first one whom we need to seek. In addition, we can do some spiritual and concrete things which will remind us of the joy which God wants us to have.
In addition, Lent provides us with a particularly focus time to explore ways that we can give God the glory, love others, and care/love ourselves. Instead of focusing on giving up things, there are many things we can do, things that could reawaken our sensibilities to the amazing things God has done in our midst.
Therefore, I would like to offer my list of 101 concrete ways to combat our culture of scarcity in which we now live. All these things, while seemingly small or even trivial, can be very spiritual and concrete actions that can help us from day to day. I am not endorsing any particular companies nor attempting to advertise any businesses, but simply referencing local ideas that may serve to help you discern how you may be able to accomplish some of these ideas. Maybe you can create your own 101 ideas and act on them.
3. Pray some more.
4. Read the Gospel of Mark
5. Vacuum the floor
6. Concentrate on paying off a debt (start with the smallest)
7. Clean the work bench in the garage
8. Take someone out for dinner
9. Get rid of clutter around a specific area
10. Turn off the evening news on television
11. Compete your tax return
12. Smile at someone and wish them a good day
13. Mop the kitchen floor
14. Join a menʼs or womenʼs faith sharing group
15. Clean out that junk drawer
16. Walk around the block noticing things around you
17. Give out socks to the homeless
18. Clean up that mess on your computerʼs desktop
19. Attend Mass during the week
20. Donate unused clothes to a local charity
21. Read the Acts of the Apostles
22. Read a book about the faith
23. Wash your clothes
24. Clean the inside of the car
25. Serve at a soup kitchen
26. Make a random donation to your favorite charity
27. Go to Confession
28. Watch an uplifting TV program
29. Eat some chocolate
30. Wash the car of a family member without letting them know
31. Serve once at Coffee and Donuts on Sunday
32. Take up a new hobby such as photography or woodworking
33. Start playing your favorite sport
34. Mail $20 to someone anonymously
35. Open the drapes/blinds in the house
36. Go on a retreat
37. Clean up your e-mail on your computer
38. Visit some children
39. Attend Evening Prayer at Mount Angel Abbey
40. Go camping as a retreat… bring a bible and a journal
41. Adopt a pet from a shelter
43. Watch an old favorite movie that you haven’t seen in a long time
44. Write a snail-mail letter/card to someone who may need it
45. Start a Facebook account and connect with friends
46. Go on a homeless immersion retreat with JOIN
47. Do something “green” (ie. use a recyclable bag when shopping, unscrew one light bulb in the house, turn off unused lights, avoid using plastic bags)
48. Go to the Zoo, OMSI, or Evergreen Air & Space Museum
49. Make an effort to tell someone what yo appreciate about them
50. Take a Sunday drive
51. Visit St. Rita's Retreat or the Trappist Abbey or other retreat Center
52. Go on a wine-tasting tour with a friend
53. Go to/rent an uplifting or thought provoking movie
54. East some popcorn with butter
55. Mow the lawn
56. Offer your time as a Eucharistic Minister or Lector at Mass
57. Go to the coast or mountains for a day
58. Paint something
59. Go for a bike ride
60. Drive the scenic route
61. Share a funny story about yourself with someone and laugh at yourself
62. Listen to your favorite (uplifting) song
63. Curl up with your spouse
64. Look at funny animal pictures on the Internet
65. Go watch some live music
66. Go ﬁshing
67. Go to see some amazing waterfalls (Multnomah, Silver Creek, etc.)
68. Clean the siding of your house
69. Do an online retreat: ie. Creighton University or Sacred Space or Loyal Press
70. Work in your garden
71. Try a new food
72. Go skiing, sledding, or tubing, thankful for God's gift of recreation
73. Take someone to a play performance
74. Go to bed early and get up early
75. Read about the Lives of the Saints
76. Build a model
77. Go garage-saling or window shopping instead of regular shopping
78. Enroll in a class that you've always wanted to take
79. Send ﬂowers anonymously (or not) to someone who may need them
80. Pray the rosary
81. Clean the garage
82. Learn to play the guitar (maybe lessons?)
83. Take a class to use your computer better
84. Spread good news about someone behind their back
85. Lounge in a hammock in the backyard, weather permitting
86. Go on a Marriage Encounter Weekend
87. Read the Book of Lamentation 3:21-24
88. Go Geocaching with a friend
89. Turn off your cell phone for a day
90. Let someone cut in front of you in trafﬁc
91. Instead of watching television, read a book about the Faith
92. Go for a walk picking up garbage as you go
93. Pay for the car behind you in the drive thru
94. Go tent camping in your backyard or living room
95. Spend an hour in silent prayer listening (not talking) to God
96. Help a neighbor with a project
97. Wear Shorts, ﬂip-ﬂops, and a Hawaiian Shirt all day
98. Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
99. Walk around your town's center plaza (ie. Waterfront Park and Pioneer Square in Portland)
100. Take a day trip to Mt. Ashland, Mt. Hood, Mt Shasta, Mt. St. Helens, or a nearby mountain
101. Write your own list of 101 Spiritual Acts in a Culture of Scarcity
'cause I just couldn't stop, here's some more...
102. Rent a canoe or kayak and take it to your favorite lake
103. Make an inspiring music video or slide show
104. Crank up an uplifting song in your house and dance
105. Hug a friend
106. Go for a helicopter ride
107. Watch a silly movie with a friend
108. Call a person on the phone with whom you haven't talked in a long time
109. Donate money to a charity
110. Babysit a relative's child so they can go on a date
111. Drive someone to Mass
112. Take a day off from work and spend it doing goo deeds for others
113. Thank someone for something they've done, and mean it.
114. Listen to someone and don't talk
115. Thank God for all you've been given
116. Volunteer to tutor someone
117. Create your own "Bucket List". Watch the movie of the same name
118. Accept others where they are at and not where they should be
119. Make breakfast for dinner
120. Rearrange your furniture
121. Volunteer at your Church
122. Give a lottery ticket to someone
123. Post a positive comment on someone's blog/web page
124. Stay local during Spring Break and enjoy God's creation in your own zip code
125. Give a phone card to a homeless person
126. Write a thank you to someone who has made a difference in your life
127. Visit a animal shelter and pet the dogs and cats
128. Powerwash the driveway
129. Whistle a happy tune while walking around
130. Invite friends over for a car washing party
131. Go skydiving
132. Donate blood
133. Fast one meal and give a sack lunch to a homeless person
134. Tell your parents how grateful you are to them
135. Bring cookies or sweets to share with your coworkers
136. Submit an editorial in the newspaper about how great life is
137. Praise a fellow employee to their boss
138. Take flowers and a get well card to someone in the hospital who has none
139. Leave an anonymous note on the windshield of someone's car wishing them a great day
140. Share your concessions with those around you at a sporting event
141. Buy a gift certificate for a dinner for two and anonymously mail it to someone you know
142. Donate stuff or time to a fundraiser
143. Help someone with their homework
144. Donate food or money to the St. Vincent de Paul
145. Donate blankets, sheets, towels, socks, and toiletries to a homeless shelter
146. Volunteer at a Special Olympics Event
147. Volunteer to do simple work at your church's office
148. Clean out your refrigerator
149. Volunteer to pet-sit for a neighbor or friend
150. Create a web site for a non-profit group
151. Volunteer with your local Habitat for Humanity group
152. Sing along to the radio or a CD playing your favorite Christian song
153. Search the Internet for "stories of hope"
154. Visit an art, history, or nature museum
155. Get a Twitter account and follow your favorite people
156. Paint your mailbox in a creative way.
157. Get a massage
158. Visit someone in a nursing home
159. Hike the nearest mountain
160. Go for a scooter ride.
161. Give yourself $1 to feed yourself all day
162. E-mail someone whom you haven't communicated with in a while
163. Go on a homeless immersion retreat with JOIN
164. Volunteer at your church
165. Go to a park and photograph wildlife
167. Sleep in your guest room or living room floor instead of your own bedroom
168. Volunteer to help clean someone's home who can't do it themselves
169. Volunteer to go shopping for someone who is homebound
170. Rent an inspirational movie
171. Drive slower and notice the things around you
172. Anonymously mail some money to someone who needs it
173. Take someone to lunch or dinner
174. Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Make sure to say hi to everyone you meet.
175. Write and mail a greeting card to someone who could use some support
176. Go to the library and seek out an inspirational book
177. Invite someone to go with you to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (a.k.a. confession)
178. Pray for someone you dislike
179. Pray Morning Prayer
180. Drink a glass of water, thankful to have clean water
180. Join a prayer chain
182. Clean your bathroom
183. Choose to fast for a day
184. Go visit the local Pet Shelter/Humane Society
185. Read a book about a Saint
186. Lock up your credit card and pay down your debt
187. Read a Psalm of Praise such as Ps. 104 or 145 or 150... find your favorite
188. Clean out unused or old food in your kitchen
189. Go bird watching
190. Create a list of things for which you are thankful
191. Attend a youth sports game
192. Go to a lily farm
193. Ride the local bus system from one side of the metro area to the other. Notice things around you.
194. Give up music for a period of time
195. Fast from carbon by giving up your electronics
196. Go bowling or play putt-putt-golf with a friend
197. Go to your local Farmer's Market or Flee Market (ie. Saturday Market in Portland)
198. Tell others how thankful you are about the weather (a.k.a. don't complain about the weather)
199. Listen carefully to the person with you before talking about your own stuff
200. Pray that God will do what is best for the politician you dislike the most
201. Find out what a dollar will buy in a 3rd world country.
202. Make someone laugh
203. Call mom and/or dad every day and tell them that you love them
204. Site quietly for 5 minutes and listen to your breathing
205. Buy a couple of bags of groceries and give it to a needy family
206. Donate money to your local Catholic or faith-based School
207. Join a choir
208. Make your bed
209. Take a neighbor's dog for a walk
210. Unplug your TV and put it in the garage for a month or two
211. Do some spiritual reading online
212. Pray the Liturgy of the Hours
213. Use our FORMED subscription to do an online mini-retreat.
Ideas from Busted Halo.com
214. Make a commitment to read the Sunday scriptures before you go to Mass.
215. Sign up or just go spend an hour of Eucharistic Adoration.
216. Think about what you usually spend your money on. Do you buy too many clothes? Spend too much on dinner out? Pick one type of expenditure that you’ll “fast” from during Lent, and then give the money you would usually spend to a local charity.
217. Commit to 40 days of letter writing, 40 acts of kindness, 40 phone calls to the important people in your life.
218. When you first sit down in front of your computer at work, or at the very end of your workday, try a 10-minute guided prayer from Sacred Space based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius.
219. If you don’t have a cross in your house, buy a simple one and put it in your bedroom.
220. Artist: Spend time each day drawing or taking a picture of something that reminds you of God’s love in creation. Maybe post it on your social media account to share with others.
221. Read the entire Gospel of Mark in one sitting.
222. Attend the Stations of the Cross. There are many online versions as well.
223. Get some friends together on Friday’s and have a simple meatless dinner
224. Unplug from your iPhone or turn off your car radio on your commute. The silence may be jarring at first, but you may find that you are able to concentrate better and will be more observant of your surroundings.
225. Buy a book of daily reflections and keep it by your bed.
226. Think about a habit that has kept you from being whom God is calling you to be. Consciously give up that habit for Lent.
227. Spend at least one weekend or evening volunteering during Lent. Cook a meal and give it to someone who is on the streets. Visit the elderly.
228. Make a commitment to fast from insensitive, cruel comments about others. So, no gossiping or going down the Twitter rabbit hole.
229. Participate in a small faith sharing group.
230. As a part of your Lenten almsgiving, make a point to learn more about a particular social issue (immigration, human trafficking, racism, the environment, public education, child poverty). Give money to an organization related to your chosen issue that supports the dignity of the human person.