The seasonal color for the lent is purple. But, it is not purple on the altar or in the sky that matters, but purple in our heart. Yes, it is purple in our heart. The color of the purple is calling each of us to recall our sins, and turn toward God and our sisters & brothers.
Lent begins with the ritual liturgy of marking ashes on the foreheads and experiencing one day of fasting and abstinence.
In ancient times the people Israel put ashes on their heads, and even sat on the pile of ashes, why, in the present times do we only mark ashes on our forehead? The people of Israel had 40 days of fasting and now we have only 2 days: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Why?
The answer is that the Church accents the spirit of fasting and abstinence rather than the outward sign.
Lent calls us to turn away from our sins and return to God. Marking ashes, fasting, abstinence, weeping, praying or charity are just the means that assists us to come back to God.
• The mark of ashes on our foreheads is the sign of penance, if we have ashes on our foreheads, but we are not truly penitent, the mark means nothing. So, marking ashes on our hearts is better than marking ashes on our foreheads.
• Let’s “mark ashes” on our soul, if we recognize our soul is dyed with bad habits & attitudes.
• Let’s “mark ashes” on our soul if we realize that we show bad attitudes about Jesus and his Church.
• Let’s “mark ashes” on our soul if we find the relationship between our neighbors are broken.
• Let’s “mark ashes” on our soul to show we regret our sins.
Fasting is not just a senseless practice. The reason for fasting is to constantly remind us of who we are and who we want to be. We must determine the changes we make. Our fasting must result in action that shows that
We are truly penitent. Our action of charity are the desired results of having fasted.
• Fasting from eating a loaf is not as important as eliminating a word which causes the trouble for the neighbor.
• Fasting from eating meat is not as important as not making gestures which cause the unpleasant for the neighbor.
• Fasting from a good meal is not as important as giving forgiveness.
• Keep off the hungry is not good as keep off the addiction of beer, wine, cigarette or gambling.
• Keep off the thirsty is not good as keep off the sex or adultery.
The reason why the prophet Joel said to his people: “rend your hearts, not your garments and return to the Lord, your God” (Joel 2, 13).
Jewish people customarily while they are fasting and mourning, they tear off their garments, that’s an indication of the lamentation and weeping. The key of the fasting is to rend our hearts.
• Tear off clothing is not important as turning our hearts from the stealing or adultery.
• Tear off clothing is not important as turning our hearts from false swearing, lying.
• Tear off clothing is not important as turning our hearts from being lazy.
• Tear off clothing is not important as turning our hearts from not fulfilling our duty.
When we rend our hearts we truly take off all the temptations which will ultimately build the fence between God and us.
When we rend our hearts we truly break the bridge which leads us away from God.
Only we rend our hearts, we truly come back to God’s love and happily live in it.
With an understanding of the importance of fasting and abstinence we can, each of us, plan for ourselves and our families a plan of 40 Lenten days. This Lenten season can be a beginning of renewal in our religious lives. We can seek a renewal of the life in our parish, which hopefully will bring us all-together in the unity of the Church, bring us to the love of each other as Jesus taught us: “Love each other as you love yourself”.
Lord, have mercy on me, for I am a sinner. Amen.