A CALL TO RETURN
“ .... turn to the Lord again for he is all tenderness and compassion” Joel 2:13
Next week will be Ash Wednesday. Why do so many people make a huge effort to forego their lunch hour or to rise earlier than usual or to come to church after a weary day’s work?
Perhaps it is more the call to “turn” again. Maybe a sense of hope is kindled in hearts by the possibility of coming back to God and trying once more to strengthen one’s faith. I think it may also be the realization that there is always a part of one’s heart that has not yet been given over to God. When we look within, we see that there is still more that needs to be brought home to the Holy One. There are always parts of us that we hold back and that need to be re-joined to God, in whose heart we truly belong.
On Ash Wednesday, the Scriptures reassure us that God is rich in faithful love and waiting to welcome us home. Let us enter this beautiful lenten season trusting that God will draw near and help us in our desire to “return.”
|As Lent approaches, it’s an opportunity
to consider what we can do to make
ourselves and the world around us a
better place. It is typical for people to
make a sacrifice so they can empty
their heart, leaving more room for God,
or at least that’s how it’s supposed to
work. Yet, the casual Lenten sacrifice is
often too little, taken too lightly. It’s time
to rethink and commit to a sacrifice of
It is time to consider the nature of our typical Lenten sacrifices. Are they substantive enough to change us and help others in the process? What are we doing to really make the world a better place when we give up chocolate? A better form of sacrifice is one which combines ‘Prayer and Action’ in a way that benefits others as well as the almsgiver.
Historically, almsgivers ask to be merited by God for their sacrifice. Indeed, those who fast and pray as Jesus said to do benefit. Pope Francis, for example, commonly sacrifices of himself to provide for others. Already a small book’s worth of anecdotes about Pope Francis has been written. Pope Francis knows that emptying himself out for those in need causes him to be filled with the blessings of the Holy Spirit. We are transfigured by our spiritual exercise, much like a caterpillar turns into a butterfly within its chrysalis. It’s almost selfish -but done correctly it isn’t. Done correctly, those around us benefit too.
|Ash Wednesday marks a profound
moment of decision and invitation to
change for Catholics. “By the solemn
forty days of Lent the Church unites
herself each year to the mystery of Jesus
in the desert” (CCC No. 540). We are
united to Christ as we engage in our
spiritual journey of penance, a road we
travel not by ourselves but along with
Christ as we follow him into the quiet, dry
and tranquil desert. We too travel among
the sand and emptiness and through
prayer and fasting, we can be drawn
more closely to the Way, the Truth, and
the Life, the One for whom we thirst. It
is in the desert that, when the life-giving
Rain falls from the heavens, fresh colors
blossom forth and flowers of all kinds
flourish within the soul.
A temptation that often presents itself is one which labors to convince us that fasting, penance, and self-denial are merely unimportant and antiquated practices of past. We think we are no longer in need of these things, for we are “enlightened”. We begin to tell ourselves we are loved “just as we are”, and that further repentance, conversion and spiritual growth are unnecessary. These types of ideas, of course, come from the same Tempter which attacked Christ in the desert.
|Pope Prayer Intentions for the Month of March|
Respect for Women. That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations. That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Pray for Arch. Emeritus Nicholas Chia
Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Chia is still
Contraception, Abortion, Euthanasia, Homosexuality - What is our Faith’s Stand?
St. Anne’s Church, is organizing “Heartbeats for Life”, a prolife seminar, with a line-up of distinguish speakers Fr. Garcia, Andrew Kong, Dr. Chan Yeow, John Ooi and Andy Wee. Come discover the culture of life!
http://prolife.caritashost.sg or contact
Andy (9380 1581)