Want to know why Catholics wave palms on Palm Sunday; wash each other’s feet on Holy Thursday; or kiss the cross on Good Friday? Look no further than BustedHalo.com’s® two-minute video that describes the final week of Lent we spend preparing for Easter.
By Ysette David
CFC SFL Batangas
In the third Quarter of 2012, SFL Batangas conducted the Live Pure Echo Conference at La Promeesa, San Pascual Batangas. It was a great time to meet and greet our brothers and sisters in Christ once again and to listen to God’s message for all of us through the Live Pure Team.
“I am created in God’s image and likeness; hence, I will live out His greatness and holiness by striving to imitate Christ and His purity.” When I heard this line I was reminded of my past, I was blinded and most of the time commits poor choices in my life. Kuya Ej said “Jesus is the WAY out to be FREE.” Real freedom is simply doing good. We are not here on earth to be prisoners of insecurities and live an impure life with bandages; instead freedom is intrinsic, it is a matter of decision to live upon the truth. All of this sync in my heart and mind. I then decided that I want to be free. Free from insecurities, have self control and to live a chaste life. I will free my mind from any impurity and lustful thoughts and I will strive hard to always speak with grace. After the conference, I felt God’s affirmation that He has beautiful plans for my life. The Lord plans to prosper me and give me a future full of hope. I torn the colorful papers into small pieces and threw it in the air. It was like my Independence Day, and so I lifted everything to God. By doing so, I know that my life will be colorful and full of life. “Happy Independence day Ysette!”
Finding Your One True Love.
This session talks about Commitment Driven by Decision. It’s not just about the positive feelings. I realized that Love really is not just a word, it means so much more. Just like what God the Father did, He gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross and save us from our sins. I realized that in finding my One True Love, I must find God first that way I will be secure of what love truly means. Now is the right time to Love God and only God’s love suffices. I was again reminded that when I am tempted, I must always turn God and let Him help me rise up to overcome it all. “Love is a decision to fall in love again when we are out of love.” Everything is possible with God’s grace. Kuya Jeff said, “It’s fine to be attracted when in a relationship, but one must say no to temptation – starving the attraction will lead to its natural death; again we must fall unto God.” Right now I can truly say that God is my One True Love. The person that God has prepared for me will come in His time. I learn to value the importance of Chastity. I will patiently wait for God to reveal that person to me. I am worth waiting for!
It was a reminder that God is enough to be truly happy. He definitely choose me and freed me from my sin in the past and so I will this life to the full and choose to Live Pure.
I am Lisette Ann David and I choose to Live Pure!
Watch as our SFL brothers do Liturgical Bible Study for this Sunday’s readings.
To see full LBS session, click here.
By Fr. Francis Gustilo
Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is raucous day in many parts of the western society. They call it Mardi Gras … a French phrase which can be easily understood by us Pinoys when we put it in its Spanish translation: Martes de Grazo (Fat Tuesday literally translated in English although, having an British Salesian priest-confrere with us, he says they call it Pancake Tuesday). But it describes the last day when meat is allowed; next day Ash Wednesday marks the forty day Lenten season which in olden times required every good Christian to refrain from meat the whole length of the penitential season.
We’re normally struck by the sacrifice dimension of the Lenten season we fondly call Kuwaresma. It seems that our martyr complex plays a large role for this emphasis. But what seems to be deeper in our cultural psyche is the pakikiramay sa kapwang naghihirap. Here the kapwa is Jesus the Son of God, our Saviour and our Lord. Accepting to suffer like Him (some take it literally by becoming flagellantes) makes us one with Him.
However, the Ash Wednesday Gospel passage speaks not only of fasting, but also prayer and almsgiving. In fact, the three Lenten practices come together. Let me explain a little.
Fasting, if done as it should be done, that is, only one full meal in a day, will bring one to experience weariness and weakness. But the truth is we all are weak, limited, finite, even sinful and wicked! This experiential weakness through fasting will bring us down to our knees and we will re-discover and appreciate the truth of ourselves: mere creatures! Creatureliness hopefully leads us to acknowledge God’s greatness and recognize how benevolent and magnanimous He has been and is with us. Thus, this awareness of His presence in our lives leads to prayer (second lenten practice), a prayerful attitude before our Creator, a pious stance before God Almighty yet so caring and loving of us all. If prayer becomes true prayer, it should lead us to see in Christ our God not only his benevolence to us, but to other weak people as well. This awareness enlarges our worldview and makes us see the plight of the poor, the lonely and downtrodden, the widow and orphan, the helpless and the hopeless. If this happens, it is understandable how one is led to charity (almsgiving is the word the Gospel of Matthew uses).
In the end, the Lenten practices simply signify the path to eternal life which a scribe once asked Jesus with this question: “What must I do to attain eternal life?” Jesus replied: “Love God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength (prayer); and love your neighbor (almsgiving) as yourself (fasting).”
Why forty days? It is actually 47 days if you count from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. However, the real count is from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday. The next seven days is called Holy Week or better still, the week of the Paschal Triduum: Holy Thursday (Passion), Good Friday (Death) and Saturday Vigil (Resurrection). It is not the same for the Ambrosian Rite used in the Archdiocese of Milan. They do not have an Ash Wednesday commemoration, instead they start Lent on a Sunday. Thus, they count 40 days from the first Sunday of Lent to Holy Wednesday.
The Israelites journeyed in the desert for 40 years; before starting his public ministry Jesus spent for 40 days in the desert. We’re invited to do 40 days because loving God and our neighbor for forty consecutive days might help us acquire the habit of genuine loving.