And here we are again, another start to the Lenten season and also the start to Lunar New Year to usher in the year of the Goat. This year we start lent in the festivity of Chinese New Year Eve, a night of celebration where the entire family gathers for the traditional reunion dinner feast. It was almost impossible to fast and to think that the one full meal of the day will be a glorious feast just did not feel right. Still we started lent, in preparations midst the festivity with the anointing of ashes and 40 days leading to Easter.
As far as I can recall, this is probably one of the most challenging Lent. There was an occasion or two that Ash Wednesday was actually postponed because it fell within the festive period. Not this time around with Archbishop William Goh. Over lunch with my Chaplin, I was sharing how this occasion really makes us think about our priorities in life and where our faith stands. Is our faith one of causal convenience and one that happens to suit our lifestyle?
As in every lent, I try to focus on the traditional Lenten pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
Earlier this year, I have been spending some time daily on Psalms and Proverbs. Prayer requires commitment and discipline. As St John Paul II says,
“Our witness would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated his face. Prayer develops that conversation with Christ which makes us his intimate friends: Abide in me and I in you.” (Jn 15:4).The busier we are, the more we must pray, so that we will find strength and discernment to tackle what lies ahead of us.
And as much as I am aware that effective prayer must be accompanied by fasting, I admit (time and time again) I don't do well in this department. However, I do want to take on the challenge and invitation set by Archbishop to fast on Fridays for the New Evangelisation. There goes TGIF! Perhaps with the support of the larger church community, we can through our actions and prayer, proclaim the Good News about Jesus, who is the Truth, the Way and the Life. And in the words of Archbishop William Goh,
Fasting also enables us to listen more attentively and to be more docile in obedience to the Word of God. Fasting is therefore the soul of prayer and the answer to our prayers because it shows our sincerity in asking for what we want from the Lord. Fasting bears no fruits unless it is watered by mercy and charity. More importantly, we are called to fast from our sins – especially the capital sins of pride and arrogance, envy and jealousy, anger and unforgiveness, sloth and irresponsibility, gluttony and the destruction of one’s body and soul through lust, pornography, greed and hoarding.
This lent, I pray for a deeper prayer life, a greater appreciation of the love of God, a more generous heart and with the church - a new evangelisation spirit.
Lenten Reflection - Priest, Prophet and King #1
Lenten Reflection - Priest, Prophet and King #2
Lenten Reflection - Priest, Prophet and King #3
Lenten Reflection - Priest, Prophet and King #4
Fasting, Prayer & Charity
Lenten Reflection 2009
The Start of Lent
Getting Lent Right