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Lent, seeing the light in darkness

By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, roycimagala@gmail.com
March 5, 2017

WE are now again the in season of Lent. Itís important that we know how to see the good, bright and happy side of this season that otherwise is usually considered as dark, and also associated almost exclusively with pain, suffering and sacrifice.

We need to confront the dark reality of our sinfulness as well as the reassuring reality of Godís mercy. These two realities should go together, and the Lenten period is the good time to strengthen our conviction about the helpful relationship these two should have with each other.

Whenever we feel the sting of our weaknesses and sinfulness, together with their antecedents and consequences, their causes and effects, letís never forget to consider also Godís mercy that is always given to us, and, in fact, given to us abundantly.

We have to avoid getting stuck with one while ignoring the other. Our sinfulness should be viewed in the context of divine mercy. And vice-versa: Godís mercy should be regarded in the context of our unavoidable sinfulness.

And from there, let us develop the unshakable conviction that no matter what sins we commit, no matter how ugly they are, there is always hope. Godís mercy is never lacking.

May it be that while our sinfulness would have the understandable effect of making us feel bad and sad, we should not allow it to scandalize ourselves to the point of running away from Christ rather than going back to him contrite.

Letís strengthen our conviction that Christ has a special attraction to sinners, that he is ever willing to forgive us as long as we show some signs of repentance that he himself, through his grace, will stir in us.

Letís play the part of Peter who, after denying Christ three times, realized his mistake and wept bitterly in repentance. Christ looked kindly on him and forgave him and even made him the prince of the apostles.

But we have to learn how to handle our weaknesses and temptations. And the secret is always to be with God. The more we are stirred and bombarded by them, the more we should be with God. Thatís the secret. To distance ourselves from him can only mean disaster.

Truth is, we always need God in our battle against temptations. We should disabuse ourselves from the thought that with our good intentions and our best efforts alone, we can manage to tame the urges of temptations.

We cannot! Thatís the naked truth about it. We only can if we are with God. And we have to be with him in a strong, determined way, not in a passive or lukewarm way. Do flies flock on a hot soup? No. But they do on a cold or lukewarm soup.

We need to do everything to be with God. Our mind and heart should be fully and constantly engaged with him. We always have reason to do so Ė at least, we can thank him for what we are having at the moment: health, food, air, work, etc. Letís never leave him!