Editors column




Lent is a season for refocusing on the suffering and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so that we will be ready to embrace the good news of the Resurrection. Lent is a season of the spiritual journey to experience the love of Jesus and to share his Calvary Experience through Prayer, Fasting and Charitable acts. Lent is a season of experiencing the suffering of Jesus Christ.

Why this emphasis on suffering? Because Christ saved us through an act of suffering. He bore in his own person the weight of our sin and died for us on the cross, where suffering and love coincided. Church is the Body of Christ, which participates in Christ. Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised that we will be called upon to suffer out of love. In the economy of grace, God may use our suffering to bear the burden of another member of the Body of Christ, just as one system can take up the work of another, or one organ can support another.

So as we begin with Ash Wednesday, let us resolve to focus on Christ’s suffering, and to unite our own suffering–through fasting, prayer, almsgiving, and reflection on the Stations of the Cross–with the suffering members of the Church. It is not the destination but the journey that will ultimately transform us.

Lent began as a way for Catholics to remind themselves of the value of repentance. The austerity of the Lenten season was seen as similar to how people in the Old Testament fasted and repented in sackcloth and ashes.(Esther-4:1-3Jeremiah-6:26Daniel-9:3).

However, over the centuries Lenten observances have developed a much more "sacramental" value. Many Catholics believe that giving something up for Lent is a way to attain God’s blessing. But the Bible teaches that grace cannot be earned; grace is “the gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17). Also, Jesus taught that fasting should be done discreetly: “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen” (Matthew 6:16-18). Jesus’ command to “wash your face” seems to conflict with the practice of rubbing ashes on ones faces on Ash Wednesday.

Fasting can be a good thing, and God is pleased when we repent of sinful habits. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting aside some time to focus on Jesus' death and resurrection. However, repenting of sin is something we should be doing every day of the year, not just for the 46 days of Lent. If a Christian wishes to observe Lent, he is free to do so. The key is to focus on repenting of sin and consecrating oneself to God. Lent should not be a time of boasting of one’s sacrifice or trying to earn God's favor or increasing His love. God’s love for us could not be any greater than it already is.

Lent is a wonderful season to experience the love of God, through our repentance, sufferings, and sacrifices. It is a season of Gift which helps us to experience the forgiveness of Christ through the sacrament of Reconciliation.

In this wonderful season I wish you all to experience the God’s Love through the spiritual Journey of the Lenten season. Let us all prepare ourselves to celebrate the Easter.

Always praying for you,


Fr. A. M. A. Prabakar,