Every year I propose the Lenten season as entering into the desert with Jesus. This year I wish you all to be a faithful pilgrim, with three pillars of our spiritual pilgrimage such as, the prayer and contemplation, the fasting and penitence and the charity and sharing, which are essentially evangelic. This pilgrimage with these three wheels of our social, spiritual and inner life, is not only towards the Cross and the death, as many of us do recall in these days, by faithfully participating in the way of the cross very often possible, particularly on Fridays with fasting and penitence, but most importantly towards the immense divine love for His unfaithful people (that we are), whom He so loved, assuring them His faithfulness, and promising them the resurrection of the Lord, to be rightfully profited, if we remain faithful to His commandment of love. It is actually a moment of joy, the joy of home coming, the home coming of the prodigal son, with certitude of divine mercy or pardon and love, insists the Holy Father in his Lenten message to us all.
The first wheel which we will employ in our pilgrimage is, prayer and contemplation. This prayer and contemplation can’t be reduced by simply reciting our prayers, like office and other wonderful prayers given by the Mother Church, through the tradition or reading of the Holy Scripture, though they are essential part of our prayers. It is rather a life in God, fully configured by His divine will. It is entering in a perfect dialogue with God, giving God His due space and time to speak to us, and sincerity of inner silence, from where we will have the capacity to listen, what God has to say to us, then and there. This prayer life, (perfect dialogue) will be transformed by God (elevated), into a perfect contemplation of divine mysteries, particularly the divine love, expressed explicitly and visible to the human sensibilities, in the death and resurrection of His only begotten Son.
The second wheel is the fruit of this first wheel of the pilgrimage, which will lead us towards fasting and penitence. The divine encounter will lead us to identify our own sins and our refusal to the divine love, sometime wilfully and unintentionally. Thus the fasting and penitence is not to receive a gratification or for a grace, rather, an inner call to the purification and reconciliation, with God, and it is done in a better way, through human reconciliation and justice. We realise with certain just culpability, without self-destroying, how much we too have participated in our silence and sometime directly involving in few actions, in getting not only our human surroundings being deteriorated, even the mother earth, the sea and the sky, part of the creation, leaving them fully polluted. The Holy Father in his Lenten message does remind us of our human responsibilities.
Certainly, this self-realization does pushes us towards the third wheel of our pilgrimage, our engagement, the charity and sharing. The Holy Father asks us, what are we going to do in this season, so that God’s Kingdom may be established, here and now? Thant we may continue the work that Jesus has inaugurated by His incarnation. It is a change from ‘me’ to ‘we’. From the isolation towards the openness. It is simply getting our divine identity re-established in us and around us. This ‘in us’ is being aware that we are children of God and God has created us in His own image and the ‘around us’ is that they may, as saint James says, know us by our acts that we are Christians. Through our witnessing life, that they may see our God. Rather to say, that our words and deeds be a life giving witness of divine work in this world. It is here that our charity like arms giving become a visible sign of invisible truth of divine love, God’s love for the humanity. This charity helps us to identify the other around us and be integrated in the otherness of this large community around us. Thus, we won’t ask any more, ‘who is my neighbour?’ It is in this charity we will find our own response to our baptismal vocation and discover the inner thirst for justice and peace that God has naturally placed in our hearts, very deep to our own existence, our very being.
Let us continue to pray for each other, be generous in pardon and fully engaged in our charity. I wish you all a very good season of Lent and a wonderful preparation for the Resurrection of the Lord. In these days, I assure you all my prayers and do remember me in your prayers. God bless you all.