Today is the beginning of the Lenten season and we begin it with the Ash Wednesday. Though putting ash on our body was a Jewish Old Testament tradition of expression of remorse, by mourning, by repentance, which reminds us of our mortality, the shortness of life, its insecurity, there is need to beyond these visible entities towards the invisble truth and discover the necessity to know the God of life, through the fragility of our own existence and learn to love and serve Him.
The Holy Church proposes forty days of preparation, recalling its own history, the history of the people of God, the history of salvation, the desert experience, the years of exile, the privileged years and days oriented towards God, etc. Forty certainly calls this pilgrim people towards the perfection, from slavery to liberation, from sinfulness to holiness, etc. Forty days of preparation will certainly help us to begin the ways towards this perfection, ‘be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect’, and for those who desire it is sufficient to begin towards ‘The dark Night of the Soul’ for repentance, penance, purification and reconciliation. On this jubilee year of divine mercy, it is important that we give the just place that the divine mercy should have in us as a visible face of God, which can be a right medium to express our sincere desire to build a just and peaceful world for us and for the future generation.
What will be our priorities for these forty days? First of all we will enter into a desert experience generously and gladly being aware of the difficulties rise from our own personal likings and dislikes, knowing well the necessary commitments and dedication which is required from us and the surprises that are waiting for us. In this desert life we will accept the consequences of the spiritual pilgrimage that we wilfully under take, not only externally to a holy place, but very importantly our inner journey, from what we are today, from what we have become, towards what God desires that we should be, entering into our own identity received from our baptism as children of God. This journey which is intern and very much invisible, will help us to inherit the visible face of the God of mercy, to us for our own good and through us towards the humanity. God of mercy and compassion becomes reachable to the humanity through us.
There are many means available to us. The first and the best means is the Holy Scripture. Many of us do read the Holy Bible every day. Just like a dress we change every day, let us dress up with the different face of God, which we have received from the daily readings. Let us try to listen and receive the message daily and apply this in our daily activities. Let us read the Holy Bible to dress us with the divine message revealed to us through our daily meditation of the Word of God. It is like giving a new colour to our being daily, according to the will of the Father, revealed by the Holy Spirit, and demonstrated by Jesus in His life. Our life will be totally and de facto configured in Christ and we will become truly Christian.
The second means is the mother of Jesus and learn from her how to say YES to the Father. Her silence before the cross do help us to keep silence when we don’t understand the events before us. She might have looked at the soldiers and all those have condemned her beloved Son to death with the same look of her son; “Forgive them for they don’t know what they do.” She saw already Saul in the immediate with the same outlook. How we look at the persecutors of the Church of God. Do we forgive them easily? Saul became Paul because of the pardon that the Lord had accorded to Him. It is by the grace that I am what I am today. Mary’s capacity to stand before the cross, will be ours when our brothers and sisters suffer and we stand there with them. Mary’s journey to visit Elizabeth, should be our journey of the day. Searching others who are in need of us and before they call SOS, we should be there to respond to them.
The third means is, to be the witness of divine mercy by being merciful to our brothers and sisters. Let us try to transform all the human encounters as divine encounter. Every person whom we meet will be the Christ suffering for us on the Cross, the chosen and loved of the Father, is send to us by the Father, so that this person may receive through us the divine mercy and we may grow in faith and grace. It is important that our life become the witness of the divine mercy that we have received from God. Let us share our past, though it may be a failed event, this failed event will transformed by the Father that in turn will give the other a hope of divine mercy. Paul is the best example for us. He never hid his past. Thus his weakness have become for him his strength.
Dear readers, I wish you all the best and may this Lenten season become an occasion to receive forty days of grace. It is important in these troubled time we hope for the better and prepare us for the Pascal mystery of the Lord. Let us welcome the Lenten Season with open heart and ready for the transformation that the Lord is going to propose to us. Let us abandon ourselves to the Lord and let Him take us in grace and bless us. May God bless you all.