There is a story about an elder Native American walking in the forest with his grandson. Native Americans have great respect for their elders and the wisdom that accompanies them. At one point along the way after they had spotted a wolf in the distance, the grandfather said: “Within us there are two wolves. One is mean, vicious and angry, hungry to destroy. The other is kind and gentle.” That was all he said. As they continued walking for a while finally the grandson asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?” The grandfather reflected silently for a moment and then responded: “The one you feed.”

All of us are created by God. God looks upon each one of us and loves us. In fact, God likes each one of us immensely. But within our human nature there are forces which take us away from the path to God of light, love and life and lead us down the wrong path of sin, leading to eternal destruction. If we feed the mean wolf within us it will eventually destroy us. But if we feed the good wolf we open the doors for Christ to come into our hearts and live. Lent is a time to open the door of our heart and the doors of our encounters with one another to Christ. Let Jesus come in; let him love us; let him forgive our sins. Let him be present with us to enable us to reach out with the same spirit, giving in love and forgiveness in all our human encounters.

Ash Wednesday reminds us of the great truth “You are dust and unto dust you shall return.” There is not much value in dust and ashes. You can't make it pretty by painting it, or smell good by spraying perfume on it. Dust is dust, ashes are ashes - and the plain fact is that they are both largely to be avoided. But why then do we bother smearing ashes on our foreheads? Well, the answer is that we might remember who we are, and also remember who God is; and what God has done for us in and through Jesus.

In the Old Testament we see a number of instances where God sent his prophets to the people to warn them of their evil ways and to remind them to return to God. Lent is a time to deplore our past through repentance and a time to start a new life. So the external manifestations must spring from internal spirit. All the penitential manifestations will remain meaningless if they remain at the peripheral.

Lent has traditionally been marked by penitential prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. To practise sincere repentance, the Lord God tells us to change our hearts. We are called to examine our most inner self, those evil ways that we have to let go, once and for all. Some observe a rigid schedule of fasting on certain days during Lent, especially the giving up of meat, sweets, and other types of food. Some others focus on charitable deeds, especially helping those in need with food and clothing, or simply the giving of money in charities. People need to realize that Lent isn't a time to avoid certain things; instead it is a time to do certain things. It is really a preparation to celebrate God’s marvelous redemption at Easter, and the resurrected life that we live, and hope for, as Christians. During Lent we think of fasting. Shall we have creative ways of fasting with a difference during this Lent?.

  • Fast from anger and hatred, Give your community an extra dose of love each day.
  • Fast from judging others. Be generous in givng appreciation to the sisters of your commmunity and work place.
  • Fast from discouragement. On the other hand trust in God’s promises.
  • Fast from complaining. Instead close your eyes and think of the good things you are enjoying.
  • Fast from resentment or bitterness. On the whole work on forgiving those who may have hurt you.
  • Fast from spending time on your own comforts and enjoyments. On the other hand spend time and energy to serve those who need you.
  • Fast from the desire to get glued to the mobile phone all the time and from using it for fun-calls and needless talk. On the other hand listen to the advice given by our Holy Father Pope Francis, to the consecrated men and women: “Lift up your eyes from your smartphones and see your brothers and sisters, those who share your journey of faith and those who are longing for the Word of life; today’s frantic pace leads us to close many doors to encounter, often for fear of others, only shopping malls and internet connections are always open. May we never look at the screen of our cellphone more than the eyes of our brothers or sisters, or focus more on our software than on the Lord.”

Another aspect we can work at during this Lent, is to grow in total detachment. The practice of detachment, humility and charity mentioned by St. Teresa of Avila are the pre-requisites for experiencing God’s merciful love in contemplative prayer. Let’s work in particular to deepen the spirit of detachment in ourselves this time of the year when we prepare ourselves to accept transfers. I request every sister to put order among her belongings and keep only what is necessary in a spirit of simplicity of life. This will enable us to travel light and detach ourselves from all material things. Lenten season reminds us of Jesus being stripped of everything, and nailed to the Cross almost naked. He will be our model for our desire to grow in the spirit of detachment.

Disposing ourselves for a transfer will enable us to be detached from persons, places and material comforts of the present place and be attached to the Lord, a quality which is essential for growth in prayer. None of us has the right to stay in one place all her life and do the same things for years together. We accept God’s will to move to another place or to stay where we are when it is made known to us.

Transfers do a lot of good to us though sometimes we may not like transfers. They help us to do God’s will in our life. They keep us on the move reminding that we are pilgrims on earth, having no lasting city here below, but are marching towards our eternal home in heaven. They give us new opportunities, new persons to relate to, new challenges to meet, new things to learn, which when taken in the right spirit will help us to grow in our life as pilgrims.

All of us will be greatly helped, if we refrain from our tendency of collecting news of sisters, superiors, communities etc. which is common to do at the time of transfers, as it only satisfies our curiosity, feeds our prejudices and hinders healthy relationships with one another. Uncharitable talk about our sisters also results in being unjust to them, as we do not give them a chance to improve. May the Passion of Christ strengthen us in our resolve, the Blood of Christ cleanse us of all our defilement, and the Spirit of Christ transform us more and more unto the likeness of our Master Jesus Christ.

Dear Sisters, Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbour. The Lord, who overcame the deceptions of the Tempter during the forty days in the desert, shows us the path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need. Let us pray for one another so that, by sharing in the victory of Christ, we may open our doors to the weak and the poor. Then we will be able to experience and share the joy of Easter to the full!

May the smearing of ashes on Ash Wednesday, help us rise, from our sinful tendencies and move onward on the road to eternal life with Christ Jesus. May Mary, the Mother of Christ, accompany us. May her example and her intercession help us to live the mysteries of Christ’s passion and death with joy to celebrate Easter. I pray that each of us may experience the grace of God in its fullness and receive a transformation from Him and may He draw each of us close to His heart and make us His own.

Sister M. Carmel Rita A.C.
Provincial Superior



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