10 Stay a while - Ninette D'Souza

posted Feb 22, 2018, 8:48 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 22, 2018, 8:48 AM ]
The Church gives an easy to remember slogan for Lent–Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Lent is essentially a time of prayer, spread out over 40 days. This prayer takes us on a journey, so to speak, one that hopefully will bring us closer to Jesus, and leave us changed by our Encounter with Him.

I think Lent is the only time some of us Catholics fast. What is it we fast from? I think the answer would be – alcohol, cigarettes, meat and chocolates. Has it become a game maybe for some of us? But fasting is actually a form of penance, a means to help turn away from sin, and towards Christ. Instead of looking to give up something in a frivolous manner, I think Lent calls us to focus on being positive. Like "I'll exercise more, I'll pray more, I'll save a little more pocket money and give to those in need, I'll be nicer to my family members,colleagues, and neighbours, I'll ..."; the list can go on and on. It is also about self-control, finding out the areas in our lives that are not Christ-like or Christ-driven, and letting them die. Of course, even with the simple goals we set for ourselves during Lent, I believe we will still have trouble keeping them, because Lent opens up various areas of weakness. This can be painful, but recognising how helpless we are will only make us seek God's help with renewed urgency and sincerity.

Almsgiving during Lent is not about putting in that extra mount of tithe. It is to do with reaching out to others and helping them without question—a way of sharing the experience of God's unconditional love in our own lives. This explains St (Mother) Teresa's inspiring words to her Sisters. "Without suffering, our work would be social work. All the desolation of poor people must be redeemed, and we must share it to do God's will under all circumstances." Often, we are influenced into compromising our convictions, especially due to social pressure. Lent questions our sensitivity to others. Are we ready to suffer for their benefit? Are we ready to feel compassionate towards Christ, suffering with the poor?