NEWS BULLETIN – February 2018

pope

PAPAL INTENTION FOR FEBRUARY 2018

Universal:Say “No” to corruption

That those who have material, political or spritual power may resist any lure of corruption.

bishop

BISHOP’S MESSAGE

SEASON OF LENT

Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters!
On 14th of February 2018, we enter into the season of Lent. On Ash Wednesday, applying the blessed ash on the foreheads of the people, the priest will say these words “Repent and believe in the Gospel”. For centuries the Church is trying to put the nature of sin and the nature of redemption from sin in perspective by dramatizing these things in her liturgy during the season of Lent and Easter.

At the Easter, the greatest feast of Christianity, the Church will assure us that we have been redeemed from sin by our Lord’s death and resurrection. This is called objective redemption. On our part we have to make that redemption ours by cooperating with the graces God freely gives us. This is called subjective redemption. The season of Lent is meant to work for our subjective redemption consciously. In order to prepare for the festival of our redemption(Easter), the Church asks us to place our lives in order in such a way that we will be more likely to cooperate with God’s saving graces.

The Roots of all our Sins

The season of Lent should be for us a season of eradicating the roots of sin. Each year the Church reminds us that all sin-from the sin of Adam and Eve down to our own-is turning away from God. The root causes of the sin of first parents as well as of all ours are pride and self-indulgence and that is why Church places first the sin pride in the list of Capital sins. During the period of Lent our conversion must be radical, a complete ‘U’ turn from the world of sin to Grace and values of the kingdom of God, and not just a few efforts made for show. The conversion to be radical, the pride and self-indulgence which are the root causes of all our sins must be brought in check.

To Eradicate the Roots of Sins

The season of Lent should be for us a season of humility, repentance, reparation and restitution, so that pride and self-indulgence, the root causes of all our sins may be eradicated.

  1. Humility: Humility is not humiliation, but the honest appraisal of us. The Christian must regard his lowly state and recognize that only God’s grace can raise him above the state of inadequacy.Humility will beget all other virtues and that is why the Church places first the virtue of humility in the list of capital virtues.
  2. Repentance: it is the recognition of personal failure and a sincere resolve to do better in the future.
  3. Reparation: It is amending one’s life and making various efforts to achieve the resolve.
  4. Restitution: It is a compensation to be done for the damage that can be restored, and some good works to atone for those things that cannot be recompensed.

Expected noticeable imprints on our lives during the Lent

Years ago the Lenten observance was more rigorous. Due to the “hardness of our heart”, the church has considerably relaxed the Lenten regulations over the years. In the modern church Lent is barely noticeable. Yet it ought to make noticeable following impressions in our life:

  1. State of Grace: Being in God’s Grace makes everything more beneficial and beautiful. A good confession of sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the best way to begin the Lent and to be in the state of Grace.
  2. Prayer: The only way to turn towards God is to recognize Him consciously in our daily prayers: Morning and evening prayer, daily Rosary, Stations of the Cross etc.
  3. Daily Mass and Communion: As we have the opportunity to receive our Lord every day at mass, it is better for us to receive the Holy Communion every day
  4. Spiritual Readings: It is good to replace the “noise” of society, TV, the movies with the spiritual books, life of saints which have a positive spiritual value.
  5. Fasting and Abstinence: Fasting is giving up one full meal a day. Abstinence is “no meat on Fridays, Ash Wednesday and the Ember days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Through fasting and abstinence, we can gain a little self-control by giving up those legitimate needs in order to overcome some illegitimate pleasures in the future.
  6. Good Works: Mother Teresa of Calcutta was convinced and committed for good works towards the needy. And that is why she says “As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst…’Repent and believe’ Jesus tells us. What are we to repent? Our indifference, our hardness of heart. What are we to believe? Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor — He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you.” Yes, Lent is a time for getting in to the habit of doing good things for others. Of course, they should not be for show.

During the Year of Mercy we have already reflected on two kinds of good works: Corporeal works of mercy and Spiritual works of mercy. Here I just give you the list of those for our reminder and for our practice of them:

  1. Seven Corporal Works of Mercy
  2. Feeding the hungry
  3. Giving drink to the thirsty
  4. Clothing the naked
  5. Comforting the sick
  6. Visiting the prisoners
  7. Welcoming the strangers(migrants and homeless)
  8. Burying the Dead.
  9. Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy
  10. Teaching the ignorant
  11. Counseling the doubtful
  12. Consoling the afflicted
  13. Admonishing the sinners for their conversion
  14. Be patient with those in error
  15. Forgiving offenses
  16. Praying for the living and the Dead.

Let us all try to have an effort-full and result-full Lenten season for the noticeable good change in our life in order to have a blessed Easter. Let us also remember that the whole of our life, not just the season of Lent, is a preparation for eternity with God.

May I wish you all a committed observance of Lent for a permanent conversion towards God and His kingdom values. Let me conclude this message with a quote from Pope Benedict XVI “Lent stimulates us to let the Word of God penetrate our life and in this way to know the fundamental truth: who we are, where we come from, where we must go, what path we must take in life…”

With my most cordial blessings,                                                                                           A. Amalraj,
Bishop of Ootacamund

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