“Do a good turn daily”… Well I remember that from the Scouts. It’s a pity that organization has fallen on hard times in the US, but it’s of their own doing.
In any case, that old habit is designed to help young men see all the opportunities to be helpful in the society around them and to be of service as the need arises. To have a Lenten plan to do so is somewhat different as, on top of meeting the needs of the moment, we’re actually planning some deeds to do, and I would particularly stress almsdeeds here.
I sometimes think that almsgiving isn’t stressed enough as part of our Lenten discipline. Even when the fasting rules were much stricter, so many classes of persons were made exempt from them that few probably received the spiritual benefit of bodily penance. Almsgiving, however, could then make up for the same exemptions and can still make up for our now relaxed fasting regime. There are now so many deserving charities and straightened Catholic schools and colleges that opportunities to give alms abound. One great almsdeed that is often overlooked is providing the poor or the wavering with subscriptions to Catholic magazines or newspapers – or even gifting a subscription to a local library.
Planning not to purchase something – a certain food, alcoholic beverages, clothing, travel, entertainment, etc. – and budgeting the money saved towards alms takes some foresight. Many do the former (“giving something up for Lent”), but too few do the latter, even though the two go together quite naturally. It’s great that you’re looking at this as early as Septuagesima week – so the holy season doesn’t creep up on you – and starting to plan what to do. I would commend such a plan to anyone.