Hello Lent

Lenten Season Year A; 1st March 2017

Lent remains one of the best liturgical season we Catholics can ever witness. It is a time of return to God, of soul searching: a time to acknowledge our sinfulness and create habits of the mind and heart that are centered on Jesus Christ. It’s pretty amazing that this year’s Lenten season begins with the new month. Lent could feel like this: we walk through the green fields of hope the Ordinary Time gives, and gradually it opens its path and leads us to the violet ocean which purifies our hearts and souls, an ocean of extraordinary grace opened up for those who return to the Lord with repentant hearts and contrite spirit.

So what really is expected of us this season of Lent? 

Prayer: Pray for loved ones. Pray for enemies. Pray for world peace. Pray for your country and its leaders. Pray for the sick, for the poor, for those in purgatory. Pray for forgiveness. Do something different in your prayer life. If you don’t pray the rosary often, you can decide this Lent to pray at least 5 decades a day. Or if you haven’t been keeping up to your morning prayers and the first thing you do when you open your eyes is reach for your phone (which a lot of us tend do), you could decide to begin every morning with a “Serviam”(I will serve) and any other short ejaculatory prayer of thanksgiving to God. Go to confession if you’ve been keeping it on a long finger for quite sometime. Recieve Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Visit the Blessed Sacrament regularly. Just take your prayer life one step up to the next level. 

Fasting: A lot of us think, “Fasting: the ‘6/9 hours stay away from food’ thingy.” Then we start off all strong, till its an hour before we break the fast and time seems soo slow and we hear the enyzmes in our stomachs scream at every minute that ticks past. But then again, what good is a fasting if our minds are so bent and focus on how long before we break it? Fasting ought to be some form of self-denial. You eat 5 times a day? Try making it 2. You online for the 16 hours you stay awake? Why not cut it down to 6. Fasting could be the sacrifices we make for the daily pleasures we give ourselves. And what to we do when we don’t eat at the appropriate hours we have denied ourselves of? We could offer it up for those who barely have a full squared meal to eat. And the hours not spent online? We could offer it up in prayer for those who stay addicted to the social media and what it feeds. We could grow in our holiness while we fast by reading spiritual books or knowing God more by reading the Bible. So what is that you feel addicted to? It’s high time you fast from it/them.

Giving: Give alms. Give hope. Give genuine love. Give good advice. Give a listening ear, a leaning shoulder, a helping hand. Give all. Give yourself. In the spirit of self denial, we ought to give to those who need. Empty yourself of that you cling to so you can be fill back up at the end of Lent with joy and blessings those things wouldn’t have given you. 

Christ shows us the way we can live this out this season of Lent: In Humility; In Sincerity, In Secret (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18). So Fast, Pray and Give. May the Lord purify our motives so that our Lenten observance will lead us to repentance and self-renewal so that we may fully experience the joy Easter brings.

Even Now… 

Ash Wednesday, 1st March 2017

Even now, ” says the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with morning; and tear your hearts not your garments.” Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy, and repents of evil.

Joel 2:12-13

In one of today’s reading, the Prophet Joel call us back. Return to the Lord, your God for he is graciousfor His grace has appeared, bringing salvation to all (Titus 2:11); for the Lord waits to be gracious to us (Isaiah 30:18); to leave us a remnant and to give us a stake in His holy place in order that He may brighten our eyes and grant us a little substenance in our slavery (Ezra 9:8). Return to the Lord for He is merciful, slow to anger and abounding in mercyfor according to his merciful love and great compassion, he blots out our transgressions and washes us completely from our iniquity thus cleansing us from our sins (Psalm 51:3-4); for he is a God abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6); for he will not turn away His face from us if return to Him (2 Chronicles 30:9). 

The Holy Mother Church sounds the trumpet today. Like St. Paul, she calls us to be reconciled to God. She calls us to take on the life of sanctity, the life of holiness. As we commence the journey of Lent today with the reception of ashes on our forehead, we are reminded of our nothingness and our need for Him who can fill up our empty hearts.  

Behold, now is the acceptable time (2 Corinthians 6:2). “Even now,” says the Lord, “return to me with all your heart…” May the Lord guide our contrite hearts as we find our way back to Him who gives mercy and grace in abundance.