Ash wednesday begins today and once again we get another opportunity of 40 days to pary and act, as the children of the loving and merciful God, to feel in the deepest part of our being the very divine presence which animates the whole world, and to engage ourselves to make the life of our brothers and sisters easy by living our personal life in a meaningful and witnessing life. Just like another day, these days we will recall the three pillars of the Lenten season: prayer, fasting and charity. This is certainly not to mourn or to be sad, or called to suffer and undertake activities which may give us pain. These are the joyful moments of Christian life, moments of Faith in celebration.
Without ignoring the elements of prayer, fasting and charity, I would love to invite you all to orient our life by fully associating it, with the very life of Jesus, because we are preparing directly to celebrate meaningfully, the Pascal event, the death and the resurrection of the Lord. Thus, the more we are configured in Christ, the more we become capable of accomplishing the divine will, just like Jesus. By consequence, our Christian life will certainly find the meaning of ‘BEING’ and continuously being aware of the pilgrim nature, that is to say ‘already and not yet’. We are already in Christ by the very nature of our baptism and the fullness is to be achieved gracefully, slowly and steadily. The perseverance and faithfulness in all our daily engagements, is the essential and first important aspect of this season.
Let’s learn to pray, pray with heart not with words. It is important not only to pray, but to verify the quality of our daily prayers. Do I really pray, or simply recite repetitively the prayers presented to me, including the Lord’s Prayer. Do I reduce my prayer as simple supplication and praising? As Christian, every moment of life, every act of love, every engagement of human development, etc., can be called as prayer, with the condition that these are animated by the divine will and we are aware of the our personal participation in the accomplishment of the Kingdom of God. Prayer can be simply an awareness of His presence and feel what He feels for us. Prayer is the best means available for us to feel the presence of the Lord and be nourished by the very presence. It is here that we reborn again and again in the Lord. It is here we discover the ‘new creation’ that Jesus desires for us. It is here we are called and sent by the Lord to protect the creation, evidently protection of every single individual we meet daily.
The best sign of our positive engagement is visible when we engage in a concrete way, particularly in the sacrament of reconciliation. Before entering into this beautiful sacrament, there is a need to feel and be aware of the merciful love of the Lord, who is ready to forgive, the Abel in us, the David in us, the Saul and Peter in us, etc. By taking the same initiative of these people, who have cherished the divine forgiveness, we too in our smallness take the direction towards the reconciliation that pushes us to get reconciled with our brothers and sisters and try to destroy the sin, first in us and then to destroy it in the world. By generously forgiving others, praying for our enemies, we engage directly to fight against the evil power, which is destroying the peace that the Lord has established for us, in us and in our society. Sin is destroying the beautiful humanity in us and remain as an eternal huddle to become divine in our humanity.
Since this time is reserved to ‘home coming’ of the prodigal son, it is important that we anticipate the JOY of the Father. In this anticipation, we joyfully destroy anything which separates us from the Father and cultivate all that help us to build the bridge which will lead us to the Father.
The step by step method can be seen in the story of prodigal son:
- Self-awareness of our status, not only our sins and smallness but also our talents and limits.
- Engage positively and concretely. I will get up, here and now.
- Take courage and stand up with the certitude of divine forgiveness. God will accept me, as I am.
- March towards the Father and experience by yourself that He has already in action towards you and He has already forgiven you.
- Surrender yourself and all your talents. Tell him how much you have used these talents and given glory to God.
- The most important is, allow God to raise you up and accept the honour that the Lord wishes to accord to you. Though you may feel small, but before God, you are his loving son/daughter. You were dead and alive. Enjoy the feasting and don’t remain outside, as a rebel. Have a wonderful Lenten celebration.
Do pray for me and I assure you my prayers. Have a meaningful Lent and God bless you all.