Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are quite used to focusing on one type of sin – using our free will to disobey God’s commands. But there is another kind of sin that also needs attention – God has created us in his image and likeness, and has put in tremendous potential in each of us; not living up to that… living at a level much lower than what God planned for me… is sin.
This lent I recommend we pay attention to this type of sin as well. We can begin by asking the question – what are the things I say I can’t do? That could be a valuable indicator of areas of life where I am living at level lower than my God given potential.
This lent I propose that we take up penance that will help us overcome these limitations which we have set for ourselves; use the Lenten observances to develop habits which you want to keep for life. What’s the point of avoiding things which you are going to restart after lent? We might rather do or avoid things which we want to integrate into our life… to enhance the quality of our life even beyond lent.
While each of us will have our personal list of such actions, I am suggesting a few to give you an idea of what I am speaking about:
1. Make time for personal prayer every day. Begin with 15 minutes. Make it different from saying routine prayers by learning at least one method of prayer.
2. Start studying the Bible. We can join the bible class every Monday evening in our parish or at least read one passage from Bible every day.
3. Read a good spiritual book this lent. We have lost the habit of good reading. Inculcate this as a regular habit.
4. Appreciate at least 10 persons everyday in lent. During lent actually keep count… I appreciated 12 persons today… and so on… after lent you can stop counting, but continue with the good habit you have developed of sincere appreciation and seeing good in others.
5. Identify one thing you are afraid of… or don’t have the confidence for… and do exactly that. It’s an important spiritual principle – to do exactly opposite of what your comfort zone asks of you! And you will be surprised to see the potential God has packed into you. So if you are one who is always hyper, this lent go ultra slow; if you are the type that’s sleeps too much, this lent sleep less; if you are the silent type, speak up… and so on.
Each one of us has to choose how to use the season of lent to enhance the quality of our life, unleash more and more of the potential God has put into us, and keep these as part of our personality beyond lent; every year adding to such qualities, and being transformed more and more into the image of Christ.
- Fr Mario Mendes
Date : 16th March 2019