Christians have been urged to draw closer to God through prayers, fasting and abstinence especially during the Lenten season to discover why he created them and what is most important in life and ultimately prepare for eternity.
Parish Priest in charge of St. Donald’s Catholic Church, Karu, Abuja, Fr. Boniface Ngene, gave the charge during a Mass to mark Ash Wednesday and beginning of the season.
He urged the congregation to focus on friendship with God and service to neighbour, noting that the season is a time to “reduce the attention we give to ourselves so that we can give to our neighbour and seek how we can impact positively on our neighbours and community.”
Fr. Ngene further stated that the ash administered on the foreheads of Catholic faithful is symbolic and a call to repentance. The ash is a reminder that we need to repent and a practical way of saying: ‘Lord I have sinned.”
“Accepting the ash is acceptance that we need to repent and change our ways of being fraudulent, going against the good of my neighbours, finding fault, corrupt tendencies as well as other ills. We have to stop and say lord teach me. This is the moment of salvation. That is why we need prayer, fasting and abstinence to draw us closer to God.
“We have to see not only our needs but the needs of our neighbours, especially the less privileged around us. It is time to reduce the attention we give to ourselves so that we can give to our neighbours. Be less selfish and be more selfless. Find out what we indulge in as individuals and families that does not help our spiritual growth.”
“As Christians, in whatever we do, we must be conscious of our spiritual growth and take advantage of the opportunity the season provides bearing in mind that some people may not have the opportunity to experience another Lenten season. It is a season of grace, a season of spiritual growth, a season to discover why God has created us and what he wants us to do, a season that we will be truly in the image of God in spirit and truth. Let it not be ceremonial.
“We must avoid flowing with crowd or being politically correct or playing safe. We must recognise what God wants us to do and be honest in worship. We should not be Christians in only when people are watching because what we do when no one is watching is what stands us out. Let us pray God to help us find courage to journey with God this season and rise with his at Easter.”