The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) is urging Catholics as well as the Christian community in the country to take on a Lenten discipline—spending time to worship, praying and reading the Bible and other spiritual books to help them to draw the attention of God so that sins are forgiven.
ECM secretary general Father Henry Saindi said this Wednesday when thousands of Catholics flocked to churches to have their foreheads marked with ashes in the form of a cross, to mark the Ash Wednesday, the start of the penitential Christian season of Lent.
Saindi said some of the chronological orders of Lent are Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, the Holy Week – the final week of Lent. It starts with Palm Sunday that symbolises Jesus’ triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11). This is the time Jesus was about to face the betrayal, denial and the rest of the events that happened up to His crucifixion. On the night before His crucifixion, He had prepared a mass with His disciples where He revealed to them that He would be betrayed by Judas Iscariot and rejected and the rest would run away. All this happened—Jesus died and was laid to rest on Good Friday (Crucifixion) and on the third day Easter Sunday He resurrected. This was the birth of Christianity.
He said the Lord invites Catholics to focus on during Lent – almsgiving, prayer, and fasting.
Head of Catholic Church, His Holiness Pope Francis said on Wednesday that fasting from food or other things during Lent is a chance for Catholics to reorient their material attachments.
“Jesus on the wood of the cross burns with love, and calls us to a life that is passionate for him, which is not lost amid the ashes of the world; to a life that burns with charity and is not extinguished in mediocrity,” the pope said during Mass March 6.
“Is it difficult to live as he asks? Yes, it is difficult, but it leads us to our goal,” he continued.
“Lent shows us this. It begins with the ashes, but eventually leads us to the fire of Easter night; to the discovery that, in the tomb, the body of Jesus does not turn to ashes, but rises gloriously.”
Quoting the day’s first reading from the prophet Joel – “Blow the trumpet … sanctify a fast” – Francis called the piercing blast of a trumpet “a loud sound that seeks to slow down our life.”
“It is a summons to stop, to focus on what is essential, to fast from the unnecessary things that distract us. It is a wake-up call for the soul.”
This wake-up call, he said, includes a message from the Lord: “Return to me.” “Return to me, says the Lord. To me. The Lord is the goal of our journey in this world. The direction must lead to him.”
He advised Catholics to fix their gaze upon the Crucified Christ, because “from the cross, Jesus teaches us the great courage involved in renunciation.”
“We will never move forward if we are heavily weighed down,” he continued. “The poverty of the wood, the silence of the Lord, his loving self-emptying show us the necessity of a simpler life, free from anxiety about things.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :