Preparation for Lent
Brothers and Sisters in Christ. It is that time again in the church to start our forty days preparation for Holy Week. I know what you are thinking? Haven’t I done this already? Why do I have to go through the same routine as other years? Brethren, we mustn’t be burden with our personal salvation! As Paul the Apostle of Christ said, Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” It’s more than just not eating any meat on Fridays. It is on the Intention on the believer of God who wishes to give the very best of Himself. Saint Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae Article 1, Section 12 “Intention, as the very word denotes, signifies, “to tend to something.” Now both the action of the mover and the movement of thing moved, tend to something. But that the movement of the thing moved tends to anything, is due to the action of the mover. Consequently, intention belongs first and principally to that which moves to the end: hence we say that an architect or anyone who is in authority, by his command moves others to that which he intends. Now the will moves all the other powers of the soul to the end, as shown above (I-II:9:1). Wherefore it is evident that intention, properly speaking, is an act of the will.” God reads our heart and knows us better than we know ourselves. Our actions are what counts in the end. Not whether or not we did something perfect, but what was our end goal. Almsgiving is another important part during Lent. We mustn’t neglect the widow, the hungry child nor the poor. Let’s say I was living in Indonesia and my family only had a baked fish with some rice and vegetables. I noticed my neighbor, who is a widow and she has three small children and nothing to eat. My natural action would be to take care of myself. Yet, because I love God for all the blessings, he has bestowed upon me, shall I not extend mercy and give half my food to this poor widow? It’s not to assume that she doesn’t have any male relatives to take care of her, but what is her need at that time. It’s easy to say, “I’ll pray for you”. But are you taking care of the need of the individual? Leviticus 23:22 “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field to its very border, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the Lord your God.”
Tobit 13:6 “If you turn to him with all your heart and with all your soul, to do what is true before him, then he will turn to you and will not hide his face from you. But see what he will do with you; give thanks to him with your full voice. Praise the Lord of righteousness, and exalt the King of the ages. I give him thanks in the land of my captivity, and I show his power and majesty to a nation of sinners. Turn back, you sinners, and do right before him; who knows if he will accept you and have mercy on you?” God wants you to show mercy towards your brother and sisters. How can one approach the Throne of God and have a sin against his brother? How can you ask for the intercession of the Angels and the Saints if you have a vile heart? Your prayers will be in vain! If you wished to be forgiven by God, then you must show mercy. Jesus Christ himself explains in Matthew 5:21-26 “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.” Your own foolishness will be your end. Forgive and the Lord will forgive your sins. Don’t allow your hearts to be harden my brothers and sisters.
Let us remember the God who loves us so much and wishes to be close to us everyday of our lives. May the Mercy of Christ bring us closer to his heart. May our hearts be open to the Eternal Word of the Living God, so that we may share in the message of peace. God Bless you during these forty days brethren!