Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ash Wednesday and Lent

Hello everyone !
Sorry for the long hiatus >.<

Well, since most of CUS USM current and latest activities are being post up and inform via Facebook Group, blog ini pun penuh lah dengan sarang labah-labah kerana sering ditinggalkan.

Musim Lent sudah pun bermula secara rasminya. Semalam adalah Hari Rabu Abu. I'm sure most of you know this sebab ramai juga yang menghadiri mass semalam :) .

It was great to see you guys again after the semester break.

Talking about LENT, I'm sure ramai yang terus terfikirkan puasa apabila mendengar perkataan LENT. Ramai yang mula sibuk mencari apa yang perlu "dikorbankan" musim Lent ini. Apa yang perlu dijauhi untuk sementara, selama 40 hari ini. Well, to those who went to mass yesterday and listen to homily, Lent is not just about fasting.

To understand more what Lent is about, you can read these two articles :
  1. Lent In The Catholic Church by Jon Jakoblich
  2. All About Lent by James Akin
Kedua-dua artikel menerangkan tentang Lent serta perkara-perkara yang sering menjadi persoalan; terutamanya tentang puasa.

On the topic of fasting, here are some excerpt from Lent In The Catholic Church :
Many Catholics were taught as children to "give up something" for Lent. The sacrifices in Lent are really penance, in the same spirit as the Ninehvites that repented at the preaching of Jonah. Throughout our history, Christians have found prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to be an important part of repentance and renewal. Many Christians now add something during Lent rather than giving up something, either to address personal habits that need work or to add some outreach to others in need.
Excerpt from All About Lent :
Q: In addition to Ash Wednesday, are any other days during Lent days of fast or abstinence?

A: Yes. All Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence. Also, Good Friday, the day on which Christ was crucified, is another day of both fast and abstinence.

Q: Why are Fridays during Lent days of abstinence.

A: This is because Jesus died for our sins on Friday, making it an especially appropriate day of mourning our sins (just as Sunday, the day on which he rose for our salvation is an especially appropriate day to rejoice) by denying ourselves something we enjoy. During the rest of the year Catholics in this country are permitted to use a different act of penance on Friday in place of abstinence, though all Fridays are days of penance on which we are required to do something expressing sorrow for our sins, just as Sundays are holy days on which we are required to worship and celebrate God's great gift of salvation.

Q: What are appropriate activities for ordinary days during Lent?

A: Giving up something we enjoy for Lent, doing of physical or spiritual acts of mercy for others, prayer, fasting, abstinence, going to confession, and other acts expressing repentance in general.

By denying ourselves something we enjoy, we discipline our will so that we are not slaves to our pleasures.
There is something yang I'm not sure about. It's about yesterday, Ash Wednesday. I noticed that there are few people that I know post status about Ash Wednesday (which is good sebab it helps us to remind each other). But, ada sesetengah status tersebut make me think.

Happy Ash Wednesday - is what they wrote.

I read this one article in, FAQs about Lent tentang Lent, and ada penerangan tentang Ash Wednesday in the facts as well. Here's something in the article that explain why we put ash on our forehead :
Ashes are applied to our forehead in the sign of the cross as the words, "Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return" are spoken to us. The other formula which is used, "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel" emphasizes our call to continual conversion and holiness of life. This act symbolizes our mortality as well as our need for ongoing repentance. It is a reminder that this life is short and merely a foreshadowing of what we shall become through the redemption of Jesus Christ on the cross. The work of our redemption will not be complete until we are raised from the dead, in resurrected bodies like His own and called to the eternal communion of heaven.
Is it a day to be happy/a happy day? A celebration? Or a day for us to seriously think about ourself : our sins, our life, our relationship with God ... etc.

You guys can read more about this meaningful season from the articles :)

I myself honestly juga masih banyak tidak tahu. I hope this sharing can benefit us all :)

* * * *

I want to share readings untuk hari ini juga.

The first one is from Deuteronomy 30: 15-20
Today I am giving you a choice between good and evil, between life and death. If you obey the commands of the Lord your God, which I give you today, if you love Him, obey Him, and keep all His laws, then you will prosper and become a nation of many people. The Lord you God will bless you in the land that you are about to occupy. But if you disobey and refuse to listen, and led away to worship other gods, you will be destroyed - I warn you here and now.

You will not live long in that land across the Jordan that you are about to occupy. I am now giving you the choice of life and death, between God's blessing and God's curse, and I call heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Choose life. Love the Lord your God, obey him and be faithful to Him, and then you and your descendants will live long in the land that He promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Psalm 1 :
True Happiness

Happy are those who reject the advice of evil people,
Who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God.
Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord, and they study it day and night.
They are like trees that grow beside a stream, that bear fruit at the right time, and whose leaves do not dry up.
They succeed in everything they do.

But evil people are not like this at all;
they are like straw that the wind blows away.
Sinners will be condemn by God and kept apart from God's own people.
The righteous are guided and protected by the Lord,
but the evil are on the way their doom.

Luke 9: 22 - 26 :
He also said to them," The Son of Man must suffer such and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. He will be put to death, but three days later he will be raised to life."

And he said to them all,"Anyone who wants to come with me must forget yourself, take up their cross every day, and follow me. For whoever wants to save their own life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for my sake will save it. Will people gain anything if they win the whole world but are themselves lost or defeated? Of course not !

If people are ashamed of me and my teaching, then the Son of man will be ashamed of them when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels..."

I hope we all can spend a little time to read and reflect on today's readings.

Have a blessed day ! :)

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