Ash Wednesday, Lent, and spiritual discipline
Is Lent still relevant today and among the millennials? Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return (Genesis 3:19).
Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten season. Ashes are imposed on our foreheads and some poured on the head. The ash is a good reminder of our transitoriness and mortality as human beings.
Lent should be a season for each one to participate in the invitation of Jesus to ponder on our spiritual life. Lent should be an occasion to cooperate in the salvific suffering and death of Jesus.
Prophet Joel narrates our way of participation through weeping, mourning, and fasting.
Fasting and abstinence are spiritual exercises and discipline that lead us to a higher realm of spiritual life for a higher purpose.
Fasting is a spiritual discipline of sacrifice and abstinence is a spiritual discipline of temperance and self-control. Lent reinvigorates our spiritual capacity of self-discipline. If we are able to sacrifice and discipline our life from the worldly then we can naturally resist temptation, read evil cunnings, and overcome the evil.
I sacrifice not to eat a meal and I will offer it to the Lord for a noble purpose. I will abstain from eating meat and it will be a gauge of my strong control over my appetites to mean I can resist the allurement of the flesh.
Pope Francis reiterates, “Lent is a time of grace to the extent that we listen to God as he speaks to us.”
Lent is an occasion to strengthen our spiritual discipline in order to attain the holiness Jesus had been exhorting.
I admire the Boaging family of Bauko, Mountain Province. I was really impressed and appreciative of how they incarnated the spirit of the law to promote the common good.
Last month, Jay Louie Bello and Cesaria Boaging got married in Bauko. It was a beautiful celebration of Christian marriage that gathered thousands of people all over the country.
I was not able to attend the church ceremony but I visited the couple and the family at 9:30 p.m. of Jan. 28.
I was warmly welcomed by the Boaging family. As I was having a good chat with the family members and the couple, I heard the emcee announce that the program will end before 10 p.m. in respect to the curfew. The parents of the Cesaria instructed the people to respect the curfew hour because we need to respect the rights of our neighbors too.
This is the first time I heard from a wedding celebration where the parents and family looked into the common good.
The Boaging family has all the privilege to extend the program, gong beating, dancing, and singing but they opted for the common good i.e., peace in the community. They have all the reason to extend the celebration but they opted to end the program for the sake of a higher good which is the right of their neighbors to have a good sleep.
The Boaging family is one of the richest families in Mountain Province but they did not use their social status to offend the rights of people, abuse and misuse time, and to violate the curfew. They used their social status to set an example that everybody’s right must be respected and promoted. They set a Christian example of self-discipline and self-sacrifice for a higher purpose.
In many wedding occasions I witnessed, some families stay in the wee hours and not only a single day but more than days disturbing their neighbors and the community. The sense of social responsibility, sense of community, and sense of neighbor are eroded by fa-mily status and excessive social pleasure.
We pray with Pope Francis.
“O God, our Father, grant that the Christian people begin this fast, this path of true conversion, victoriously, so they may fight against the spirit of evil with the weapons of penance.
As we humbly bow our heads to receive the ashes, let us bring to our hearts the memory of this truth – that we are the Lord’s and we belong to Him.”
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