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A Time to Reflect and Renew

King Philip, the father of the great emperor Alexander, was the king of Macedonia. He used to appoint a soldier every day morning to tell him that he would die one day. But most of us fear when we hear the term death. We may possess a lot many things on earth when we are alive but when we die we cannot take anything from we warned. Lent is the appropriate time to prepare our heart and mind to understand the meaning of life.

Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.

Lent is a season of solemnity and sacrifice commemorating Jesus’ exodus into the desert; our sacrifice is a reminder of the sacrifice of self Jesus made to save us from our sins. Because of this, it is a Lenten tradition to sacrifice something for these forty days. As I was reflecting I realized that there are so many things we need to focus on. Each letter of LENT has something to teach us. L- Leave behind everything, lean on to God – During Lenten season many take resolutions to leave behind everything, one’s own bad habits and lean on to God for his providential care. When I think of lean on to God or focus on to God, I get the image of Sun Flower which always focuses its direction towards God. “Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy” says Pope Francis. Church offers us many opportunities to turn on to God. Devotions are a great way to put yourself in the right mindset for Lent. In this season, the Church highly encourages the way of the cross, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the veneration of the Blessed Virgin and the saints. In silence we can sit and engage in deep prayer, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Any prayer, so long as it means something to you, is a step in the direction God intended. If you have a prayer you’ve grown up with that speaks to you, resolve to spend more time focusing on what it truly means and how you can embody that prayer in your everyday life.

E- Embrace everyone- As we focus on God, God invites us especially during this season of lent, to embrace everyone with divine love. Then we will be able to discover God in everything and in everyone. Let your Lenten lapses and failures – whatever they may be serve only to increase your dependence upon God. None of us will do all we want to do during Lent. That’s the human condition. The point is not to get a good grade; the point is to increase your capacity to love God and your neighbor. He wants to love others as he has loved us. After all, Lent is a time to learn how to love – God’s way – once again. That’s the whole point of the season! Blessed Teresa of Calcutta says “As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst…’Repent and believe’ Jesus tells us. What are we to repent? Our indifference, our hardness of heart. What are we to believe? Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor – He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you.”

N- New outlook – Lenten practices of giving up pleasures are good reminders that the purpose of life is not pleasure. The purpose of life is to attain to perfect life, all truth and undying ecstatic love – which are the definition of God. In pursuing that goal we find happiness. Pleasure is not the purpose of anything; pleasure is a by-product resulting from doing something that is good. One of the best ways to get happiness and pleasure out of life is to ask ourselves, ‘How can I please God?’ and, ‘Why am I not better?’ It is the pleasure seeker who is bored, for all pleasures diminish with repetition” says Fulton J. Sheen. We need to have new outlook and attitude towards life. For the forty days of Lent, start and end each day with prayer. Dust off that old grace you used to say before eating – spend some table time in quiet reflection and prayer instead of chattering and chomping. Have new attitude towards oneself and others.

T- Take time to reach out to all – Lent is the time to reach out to all to walk the extra mile without counting the cost. There are various things which we can do to reach out to others. Specially the Spiritual Works of Mercy – (1) converting the sinner, (2) instructing the ignorant, (3) counseling the doubtful, (4) comforting the sorrowful, (5) bearing wrongs patiently, (6) forgiving injuries, (7) praying for the living and the dead and the Corporal Works of Mercy -(1) feeding the hungry, (2) giving drink to the thirsty, (3) clothing the naked, (4) harboring the stranger, (5) visiting the sick, (6) ministering to prisoners,(7) burying the dead.

So let us make use of this season of lent to discover God within and around. Everything in life has its own time. This is the time for reflection and transformation. Let us look within and change into what we ought to be.

So let us make use of this season of lent to discover God within and around. Everything in life has its own time. This is the time for reflection and transformation. Let us look within and change into what we ought to be.

Dn Jaison Enchathanath CST

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