REFLECTION CAPSULE – March 02, 2022: Wednesday

“Re-charging ourselves, this Lent, by doing God’s Will!”

(Based on Joel 2:12-18, 2 Cor 5:20-6:2 and Mk 6:1-6, 16-18 – Ash Wednesday)

An Italian newspaper carried a news story about a young couple in Milan who seemed particularly devoted in their worship.

The priest at a Cathedral reported that the pair spent an hour or more on a regular basis…
… sitting before a statue of the Virgin Mary.

But shockingly…
… it turned out, that they were not really praying!

This young couple was recharging their cell phone!

They had noticed a stray electric cable sticking out of the wall…
… behind the statue of the Virgin Mary.

Whenever their phone’s power supply dwindled, the young couple came to the church and re-charged it!

What looked like an act of piety, was actually a self-serving ploy!

Maybe, we are much shocked by this act…

But how about us? Do we indulge ourselves into similar acts?
… claiming to be praying – but without true devotion or only for “transient gains and desires”
… claiming to be abstaining – but without a sense of joy and reducing it to “an annual observance of an unconvinced pious act”
… claiming to be doing acts of piety – but perhaps, with selfish motives or as “popularity stunts”

Are we really re-charging ourselves?
… or are recharging the many “gadgets” of our self-will?

The Gospel of the Day is a teaching by Jesus on the prime importance of restoring the “true intention in the acts of praying, fasting and almsgiving”…
… with a need to put on the vestment of humility and sincerity!

The Gospel Passage – Mt 6: 1-6, 16-18 – presents to us Jesus speaking of the three core practices that were essential pious practices of His time: ALMSGIVING, PRAYER and FASTING (PENANCE).

And how these ought to be performed with a “holy and sincere devotion”

With respect to almsgiving, Jesus says…
… “sound no trumpet” (Mt 6:2)

With respect to prayer, Jesus says…
… “shut the door and pray to your Father” (Mt 6:6)

With respect to fasting, Jesus says…
…”anoint your head and wash your face” (Mt 6:17)

It is interesting to note that these 3 practices refers to 3 dimensions of Love:
… towards God
… towards others
… towards oneself

Prayer: Reminding ourselves to grow in the Immensity of God’s Love
Almsgiving: Reviving our basic duty of caring and being responsible to one another
Fasting (Penance): Rediscovering the worthiness of our lives and commit to grow in holiness

The Ash Wednesday is a Great Day for all of us – to begin a Season of Holiness in our lives… to Grow in Love…
… Love of God
… Responsibility and Care of others
… Respect and Reverence of our own life

A few practical tips could help us to make this Season of Lent, more meaningful:

It is said that habits – to make a new one or to break an old one – generally take around 21 days

These 40+ days of Lent are a chance for us to “double” our efforts towards…
… positively growing: in a “good virtuous habit”
… negatively rooting out: a “not-so-good vicious habit”

(A few examples:
… Reading a portion of the Bible daily
… Learn by heart, some verses of the Bible and make it a personal prayer
… Identify the “root vice” of life, and practice the opposite – “the root virtue”
… Try to frequent Holy Mass / spend time with the Eucharistic Lord, as much as possible
… 40 simple acts of kindness
… Abstain from something that is “dear” and offer it is a sacrifice for someone in need
… Revive personal/family prayer
… Reduce time spent on the internet/social media
… Visit a home of charity or those in our vicinity who needs a help
… Abstain from gossiping/back biting/ irritable words
… Bring a person(s) closer to Christ/Church)
… Having an “off time” or a “off day for social media

Can we choose, on this day, a habit in our personal life, which we need to “make or break”…
… for these days of Lent?

The Season of Lent covers a period of 7 weeks
7 – a number of fullness and completeness is a call for us to grow in the Virtue of Charity.

We could identify 7 people – corresponding to the 7 weeks of Lent, who need our help.

This help may be any of the following:
… spiritual help
… social acceptance
… materialistic needs
… emotional assistance

Lethargy, Duplicity and Hollowness…
… have very much characterised many of our Christian living.

This Season of Lent is a wonderful opportunity for all of us, to give greater attention to “return to the basics”…
… restoring the “true intention in all our activities!”

Can we stop making our acts of piety as merely self-serving ploys?

Shall we do away with the “gadgets of our self-wills”
… and begin to really re-charge ourselves with doing God’s Will?”

Wish you a Holy and Blessed Season of Lent!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Jesus often speaks of “Gehenna” of “the unquenchable fire” reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.
Jesus solemnly proclaims that he “will send his angels, and they will gather… all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,” and that he will pronounce the condemnation: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!”
The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity.
Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.”

The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs. (CCC # 1032)

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