Bad habits take away peace and joy. God forgives, but confession and penance are needed. The community is important to experience grace. Penance, prayer and almsgiving are the three pillars of Lent.
Singapore (AsiaNews) – Mgr William Goh, archbishop of Singapore, has issued his traditional pastoral letter for Lent.
In it, he calls on the faithful to question the "vacuum in your life that you cannot explain”. He also encourages believers to seek reconciliation with God, repentance and forgiveness, for this is the path to happiness and peace.
The sense of loss felt in life is due to the "bad habits" that destroy “not just our health, but” also take away “our peace, joy and freedom."
For instance, he notes, “You are living a double life. You are living a sinful life, a life of infidelity, cheating, fighting and negative towards people. You are addicted to anger, envy, sloth and greed, besides lust. You want to break free from the sins that hold on to you but you do not have the strength to come clean and start all over again.”
By contrast, Lent “is the best time to return to God and find joy again” since “All of us, as His children, are called to be the goodness of God.”
According to prelate, Jesus was sent to help us understand that, by overcoming temptations, we can live in God's grace.
God wants to let us know that we are forgiven for this knowledge is required to forgive others. The Lord “readily forgives us because He knows who we are, weak and frail sinners.”
Yet, "The consequence of contrition of heart and repentance is the reward of joy and peace” that manifests itself in the rediscovery a life of prayer and the joy of faith in God.
According to Mgr Goh, Lent’s greatness lies in not walking alone. “We need our brothers and sisters to accompany us in our journey of faith.” But “How can we make our journey if we do not use the channels of grace made available to us?”
For him, “The three pillars of the Lenten program consist of prayer, almsgiving and penance.”
The first is a necessary tool for conversion. Penance protects us from the slavery of sin. Almsgiving teaches us “to open our hearts to the sufferings of others and in the process, encounter the joy of mercy that God wants to give us. The poor often reveal to us the face of God and give us the joy that money cannot buy.”
Mgr Goh concludes by saying that " Lent is a season of grace" that should not be wasted. Together, believers should “walk this journey of 40 days together to the Promised Land.”