Dear Readers, 

Peace be with you all

We are now in the Lenten Season, a favourable time to reflect on the immense love of God for all of us! In this occasion, we are all called to examine how strong and healthy our relationship with God, with our Neighbours and with ourselves.  This blessed season also offers us once again an opportunity to reflect upon the very heart of Christian life: charity. This is a favourable time to renew our journey of faith, both as individuals and as a community, with the help of the word of God and the sacraments. This journey is one marked by prayer and sharing, silence and fasting, in anticipation of the joy of Easter. Holy Mother Church is exhorting us to observe three important things in this season namely: Prayer, fasting, and doing acts of charity or Almsgiving. 

Prayer

Prayer is a direct communication with God. It is during Lent that we should endeavour to increase our connection with God by more prayer. We know the importance of prayer in our lives—as individuals, as families, and as a community. The Lenten season is a time for reflection, evaluation, and repentance. During Lent we set aside time for prayer that is reflective in nature and reveals places where we have failed to open ourselves to God.

Fasting

Fasting is the act of doing with less. In the Catholic Church, those ages 18 - 59 must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (Canon 97). On such days, those fasting may eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals, sufficient to maintain strength. However, together, the smaller meals should not equal a full meal. Eating between meals is not encouraged, but liquids are allowed. It is important to understand that the Church excuses certain people from these obligations. Examples include those who are frail, pregnant or manual laborers. The Church understands that certain people are not able to commit to the Lenten fast. The time of Lent, through fasting and abstaining, may be an important reminder of what it means to suffer. This small suffering should not be met with misery but with great joy as we better understand the incredible sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for humanity.

Although fasting is primarily abstinence from food, it can extend to other things such as television, the internet, or some type of activity that one would forgo and be considered a sacrifice, with the purpose of giving more time to God. Fasting is more than a means of developing self control; it is an aid to prayer as the pangs of hunger remind us of our hunger for God

Almsgiving

Almsgiving is a sign of our care for those in need and an expression of gratitude for all that God has given us. Works of charity and the promotion of justice are integral elements of the Christian way of life and Lent affords us an opportunity to increase our charity by our acts of almsgiving. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "...giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses of fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God." (2447)

The practice of almsgiving is also an exercise in self denial, to free us from detachment of earthly goods. The attractiveness of material possessions and our firm resolution not to make them an idol is confirmed by Jesus, "You cannot serve God and mammon" (Lk 16,13). Almsgiving helps us to overcome this temptation, helping us to respond to our neighbour’s needs and to share what we have received by divine goodness.

As we participate in the various devotions during this Lent, let our focus be to grow in faith and love and then come to the experience of death and Resurrection of Christ in our life

I wish all of you a fruitful season of Lent. May we experience faith and love to the fullest.

May God bless you,

Rev Fr Sunil Pinto
Asst., Parish Priest
Bejai Mangalore 

 

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