Lenten season is one of the most sacred period of the liturgical calendar of Catholics. Despite the joyous celebrative outcomes observed during advent season with Christmas celebration, in spiritual terms Easter provides us a period to reflect upon our lives, admit our sinfulness and develop a deeper connection with God.
Season beginning with Ash Wednesday commemorates the Alpha and Omega of human lives for we believe the live on earth is temporary and to ashes, we shall return soon. Proceeded with a forty-day programme of deep repentance, abstinence, fasting, prayers and personal reflection the Lenten season ends with celebration of Easter. The observance during this season likely to vary much from country to country. However, the Catholic Church motivates us to spend this period in deep relationship with God. We, human beings have lacked the calmness, the time and ability to spare some time within the day to retrospect on our lives, where we have gone wrong and what improvements we must do to be a better person of ourselves. Being able to reflect constantly upon the spiritual well-being of our lives improvise the inner drive of motivation and confidence. When that reflection is attuned towards God, it beautifies the act of repentance.
Most of the devotees in many parts of the world strictly abstain from most desired things of their life during this season to test themselves whether their love towards God surpass their greedy desires towards worldly things in life. It could be considered as a greater devotion and discipline practice to abstain forty days from your most loved food or action in this life. Whilst the practice of fasting is encouraged by the Catholic Church, the underlying effectiveness of it remains as we share ourselves with others. A meal that is skipped by me must be a meal for a person in hunger. So as we choose to fast during a meal, it is always better to share that meal or in fact, the cost you would have spent on that meal with another person who cannot afford to enjoy that meal. Truth is, despite the world is developed and advanced, so is the depth of poverty around us.
Sharing is at its peak during Lenten season, not merely sharing of food or other worldly things but sharing our spiritual enrichment with others who wants spiritual words to get enlightened in life. A better way to enrich our spiritual understanding is to attentively listen to the guided reflections and sermons done by the experts of the Catholic Church, the priests and other theology experts. As our spiritual nourishment enhances it enables us to gain a greater understanding about Godly living and link the spiritual journey with biblical teachings. It is considered as a beautiful practice during lent to fast, give, and abstain from earthly things. However, what is more benevolent is the practice of prayers and repentance.
Religion for any human being is subjective and no one can set rules saying your connection with God must be this. Therefore, your praying pattern, mode, instances could be according to your preferences. What matters most is that you pray, talk to God and listen to him. The Lenten season invites all of us to develop that personal conversation with God, reflect upon the passion of Christ, how he sacrificed his life with scourging experience for our sinfulness. In fact, our silent prayer brings happiness to God as we truly repent on our sins. Each year this period is given to us, to pause and slow down our busy lifestyles to ensure we have sufficient nourishment to continue the rest of the year.
As we pray, our prominence must be a cleansed heart that give praise to God. We witness it is the Holy Mass we attend, before any readings or reflection we commence by repenting and asking pardon for our sins. It is admirable to begin our personal prayer with repentance and with a cleansed heart what we ask from God we shall receive. In fact, a beautiful prayer will have fewer words and more praises to God. Our life is full of blessings which most of us do not realise. Each second we spend on earth is due to blessings that cover us from heaven above. Hence, our prayers must honour and glorify the Lord and ask little of what we want, because the book Matthew 6:8 resonate that “..your father knows what you need before you ask Him”.
Similar to praying as we repent it must arrive sincerely from the bottom of our hearts. Most of us confess today and even at the next confession, we repeat the same mistake. The greedy idea to think God will forgive you even if you purposely commit the sin again despite forgiveness from previous confession is a grievous sin. It is unpleasant to take God’s forgiveness and grace for granted. Therefore, as we repent we must genuinely be sorry for what we have done and strive the best to refrain from repetition.
As we are currently living this season of lent, adjusting our inner being towards Gods desires will implant a greater freedom and happiness of mind towards the Easter. Unless you are connected with, God happiness in life is temporary, your heart tend to fear when your connection is barred. Therefore, constant prayer and hope in God affirm our faith and spiritual lifestyle. Psalm 37 says; Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. The more you are connected to God, the sooner you tend to receive blessings from heaven above, because even before you could imagine of, God knows and will provide what we want. Nevertheless, for which He requires an open heart through prayer.
Take this season to reflect and retrospect on connections, relationships, life matters and other aspects that need contentment. Constantly talk to God through prayer, listen to what He say, through prayer, practice an act of good deed and you will feel your heart is relieved.