With a different way of receiving ashes on our forehead this year, we have just entered the holy season of Lent. We all need some good motivation if we want to make Lent a success, that is, to make Lent truly meaningful and fulfilling for us. The motivation is the awareness that we can be better and holier persons, that we can go beyond our present situation and experience true peace and joy, if only we are willing to make some changes in our lives.
Any attempt to build a spiritual life that neglects the pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving is like building on sand. That’s why the gospel we heard on Ash Wednesday is worth reading and reflecting over again. Please read Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18. Jesus is teaching us some good lessons in that passage: Prayer purifies our intentions and relates all we do to God. Fasting detaches us from our comfort and ourselves. Almsgiving reflects our brotherhood/sisterhood with the poor of Jesus’ family and reminds us that our true wealth is not in things, but in the love of God. We all need to do a reality check of our spiritual lives to make sure we are committed to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
Speaking of prayer as the first pillar: As we all know, Covid-19 had forced us to suspend our 8 am and 5:30 pm Masses on Sundays. Considering the limited number of people attending Mass in person due to obvious safety reasons, there is no compelling reason to restore them in the immediate future. And yet, it is good to give an opportunity to those who wish to have one more option for Mass during Lent. Hence I will restore the 8 am Mass on a temporary basis during the four Sundays of March, on 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th. The livestreaming of the Masses will still continue.
Let me now leave you with this prayer: Lord, you know how much I need you and depend on you. You know my weakness and my faults. I put all my confidence in your love and mercy in my daily actions. I hope to learn to trust more in your power, your promise, and your grace. Lord, I wish to start this season of Lent with a sincere desire to grow in love, loving you more, loving my family and friends more, especially reaching out to those who I am not so fond of. Therefore Lord, help me learn to change what needs to change in my life. Give me the grace to begin this Lent with great enthusiasm and love, practicing a Lenten program of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Help me live it with joy, knowing that I am living it in your presence to please you and to live in true fellowship with those around me. Amen.
Have a happy and holy Lent.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal