By. Meline Ngo
“Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, with mourning”
Soon after we have packed our Christmas decorations; here comes Lent. How odd come to think of it. after all the festive celebrations, partying with lots of food, gifts we gave and received and all the glittering lights; now we need to prepared for the solemn observance of lent that begins on Ash Wednesday and comes approximately 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).
What are we giving up for lent? Of is the question is raised of doing something for lent? What?
In his lent message for 2015, Pope Francis asks us to “make our hearts firm” (Jas 5:8) and to be “merciful, attentive and generous.” Embrace his call to mercy by reaching out to those in need. Be attentive to the Lenten call to prayer; be generous with your time and treasure.
“Through prayer, charity and humility before God, people receive a heart “which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference,” Pope Francis said.
However, every discipline is commendable only to as good as the spirit and purpose we give to it.
As lent begins, the very first reading of the Ash Wednesday liturgy (Joel 2.12-8) presents the night perspective;
“Repent & Return to God as if your very life depended on it.”
Our great lent model of wholehearted surrender and attention to God is Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4.1-11). His 40 days of prayers, fasting and resisting temptation were not a temporary discipline or forgoing of few indulgences. It expressed His total commitment to His Fathers will. His mission as a servant without seeking comfort, acclaim and power for Himself. “He remained in the dessert for 40 days, tempted by Satan.” (Mark 1.3)
During Lent, the church asks us to surrender ourselves to prayer and to read the scriptures, to fast and give alms. The fasting that we do together on Friday is a sign of a daily Lenten discipline of individual; fasting from certain foods, from certain activities likewise the giving of alms are efforts to share this world equally, not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our talents.
In lent the baptized are given the opportunity to renew their commitment as others prepare to be baptized as this is the perfect period of learning and discerning for individual who have desire and declare to be catholic.
The key to fruitful observance of these practice is to recognize our link to our baptismal renewal. We are called not to just abstain from sin during lent, but to true conversion of hearts, and mind as followers of Christ. We recall the water in which we are Baptist into Christ’s death, died to sin and evil, and began new life in Christ.
Also it is in Lent that we imitate the example of Jesus in the wilderness. With His help, we affirm our alliance with God. We do battle with whatever threatens our true identity and calling; but most of all we surrender ourselves.
Lent is actually a gift given to us to cleanse and purify ourselves; this is when we can consecrate to the Father all our sins, pains and sufferings… the opportunity to feel and suffer with Him and just totally surrender and thank Him for dying and restoring us from our sins and giving us the opportunity of eternal and everlasting life with Him.
It is part of a significant lives of every catholic to go to confession during lent.
Please remember the 3 PILLARS of LENT:
PRAYER – For the good of the soul.
FASTING – For the good of the body.
ALMSGIVING – For the good of our neighbour.
Read More: PENANCE PROMOTES PEACE
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