I’ve always wanted to fast during lent, especially this year’s lent. I would try, but I would always fail. Usually it’s because of health reasons and the unavailability of lent applicable foods at my disposal. When I fail or give up the practice, I would always tell myself that “there’s next year” for this. Telling myself that I can prepare for it and try again next time.
But the first quarter of 2020 has not been good. We all know the problem this world is facing now with regards to the COVID-19. The disease is spreading globally and there’s a lot of fear, panic, and confusion that’s happening right now. And perhaps, the most fearful thought everybody has is “Am I next?”.
Lent encourages us to take courage, fast, and share our alms to the poor. But the virus tells us to be afraid, stock up on food and supplies, and don’t go near anyone.
Such an irony. A virus, something so small has shaken and stirred the moral fabric of this world. We now see nations blaming each other, economies collapsing, people loosing faith in their government, and the hoarding of resources through panic buying.
I am not the master of my life
After fasting for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert, the devil tempted Jesus. When the devil tempted him to turn the stones into bread, Jesus replies with “It is written: One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” Indeed, these words of our Lord is very timely.
I realized that I’m not the master of my life, that I was always under God’s providence. He has given me the freedom to choose for myself, but like any true loving father, he does so by guiding me. And now I thank God for this lent. I thank him for reminding me that I live by His word and not the world’s. I live by his providence and not by the world’s ingenuity.
The beauty of not knowing if I’ll live or die tomorrow is that I can finally surrender my life to God. Surrender to him the decision making of what’s right and wrong, or what’s good and evil.
My challenge for myself this lent is to not give in to fear and panic. I will not hoard resources for my self, I’ll only buy what I need. If I have it, I’ll share it. And most of all, I’ll pray for those who are in the very front line of this war. I’ll pray for the medical staffs and scientists who are finding a cure for this disease. I will not be defeated by the temptation of fear.
There’s also Mary
I found it comforting when I watched Pope Francis’ prayer for Mary’s intercession and protection for us in this time of great trouble. After all, she is the refuge of sinners and help of the sick.
We pray for Mary’s intercession not because we distrust God, but simply because she is our mother.