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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Lent is here; time for repentance and reflection!!
Ash Wednesday, which falls on the 4th day of CNY this year, marks the beginning of the 40 days abstinence period.
This is a season which will prepare us for the Resurrection of Christ; the time of redemption and also newborn life as Christ died on the cross for us and our sins.
It is a solemn period and also a time to reflect on ourselves.
On Ash Wednesday, we will be blessed by the holy ashes which are actually from the burnt remains of the holy palms. This will be marked on our foreheads in the sign of a cross to remind us that we originate from ash and unto ash we shall return.
This year, I attended the mass in the Church of Immaculate Conception in Pulau Tikus. The parish priest actually brought a new twist to the meaning of Lent. Instead of being a solemn period, it should be a time to rejoice as we should be happy that Christ is coming; HE has risen.
He commented that people are often frowning or look really sad when the word Lent is mentioned and that this should not be the way.
Lent is not a sad season; we should be filled with joy and enthusiasm that the Son of God is here with us. We should acknowledge HIS presence; treat him as our friend and welcome him into our lives as how we would with our friends.
He even talked about story on an innocent kid who annoyed an elder in the church as he is always screaming and running around in the church. The elder complained to the priest that kids nowadays are not brought up properly and do not know the meaning of respect.
He clearly sees the kid as being disrespectful to God and he was disturbed by this fact. He complained to the priest every single week (the priest then started to make up excuses to get away from him...haha, bless you Father, for the white lies:p )
One day, he urgently wanted to talk to the priest and told the priest that he needs to make time and no more excuses; and the priest agreed.
He started telling the priest the same thing about the little boy still running around and yelling at the top of his voice in the church and in front of the altar. The priest was about to get bored until he said that this time, he went and reprimanded the boy.
Man: Boy, do you know where is this?
Boy: Yes, of course. This is the house of God.
Man: Do you know what we do here?
Boy: We come here to talk to God...
Man: Then why are you still running around and shouting?
Boy: Because God is my FRIEND!!! This is also my home.....(running off again)
The elder was taken aback by the reply and he started to sit down and think.
He had been praying all this while and been a regular church goer and he respected God and also see God as the power above. In a way, he feared God; yes, he feared God. All this while, he has been a devoted Catholic but it was only simple; as the kid interpreted it, why distance yourself from God?
God is a FRIEND and we should have a friendship with him instead of seeking him when in need and praying when we are distressed/in trouble and going to church regularly on Sundays.
Kids only think in a simple way; God is a friend and that we can always talk to him. I truly agree with that; I have experienced this before when my grandpa passed away more than 10 years ago. At that time, I got closer to God and though I was unhappy and couldn't understand why, I talked and prayed a lot at that time. I started seeing things; it may sound ridiculous scientifically, but I always felt that God is always around and HE can hear me. HE answers my prayers and HE does respond; in many ways. Sometimes, when you are unsure, all of a sudden, you feel relieved and you have that feeling that God has answered; it's inexplicable but as time goes by, I know that GOD is my father and also my best friend:)

Kids may say the darndest things; but hey, this is darn right....take some time and think about it. Perhaps we have been seeing Lent in a different light....and Daddy told us that during the olden days (grandma's time), they used to be strict on abstinence and fasting in churches. Perhaps we need to be happy that God loved us so much that he sent his ONLY son to redeem us from our sins and gave us a new life:)
So, the kid is right....let's observe the season of Lent with an open heart and include HIM in our prayers and TALK, yes, talk to Him:)
So, Have a blessed Lent everyone!