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What is the meaning of Lent? Is it about penance and mortification?

Say, Thanks for sending me Father Michael's sermon on Lent on Ash Wednesday: Very well written, although I would not have had used the pathways of 'penance', 'mortification' to describe why and how we as mortal beings are seeking eternity; and then in a convoluted way include 'charity' as part of the ejusdem generis. That part describing saints living 'in this world' but are 'not of the world' went past fleetingly without Father Michael explaining the raison d'tre - "Many saints lived in it, came in contact with its allurements, but through a life of prayer and penance, remained detached from its attractions. They lived "in the world", but were not "of the world"." I was on night shift and just woke up. So, I shall be brief, as I intend to go back to bed to catch up on some sleep, before going back to work. We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's. Whether we are saints or sinners we have to live in this world and render our mortal life to the full in this world. We have but this one life - do not squander it! Be proactive in the world. Get involved. Get into the thick of things. Fall in love. Make love. Live life to the full. Make the world go round through work, song and laughter and sadness, sorrow and tears. Yes, we need to hurt a little, cry a little and our hearts broken a little. Durian is not really sweet unless it has some bitterness in it. We cannot rise unless we first learn to fall! Value-add to the full! Be productive! Create wealth! Generate happiness! Leave this world a better place than what you find it! That is being a saint! But beware of the Immutable Law of Cause and Effect or You Reap What You Sow! Why be detached from the attractions of this world? Confront both the good and the bad, the attractions and the suffering! You are a more balanced in your judgement of what to do and be in life if you know what it is like to be rich or poor, sick or healthy, good or bad. Without life's experience we will all be limited in our worldly as well as our spiritual scope or vision or being. We can only make others happy if we know what happiness is. We can only love if we know what love is, because we have been loved. We can only know what to be kind is when we have first received and experienced kindness. We can only help others if we are able to help them, donate if we are rich, employ others if we can be employers. Why 'penance' when you fast when Jesus said in Matthew 6:16-18 that you should not have 'a sad countenance'! Enjoy life! Live life to the full! Be happy! Smile and make the world go round! Why 'mortification' so as live life as if you are already dead? Might as well be one of these deluded Buddhist monks sitting under the coconut tree! We 'live' life not out of gratification or mortification or penance (we regard all with equanimity), but knowing that we have a limited life, we live to 'learn' how to return home to eternity as the Lost Prodigal Son. We live to 'learn' how to 'ascend' and never ever to Page 1 of 3

'descend' Jacob's Ladder, the staircase to heaven. To live a virtuous life, so as to make the Immutable Law of Cause and Effect work in your favour does not require you to be a saint. It only requires you to live up to God's standard of 'egoless' righteousness as distinct from you living in your self-righteousness. Lent is therefore about 'learning', from 'living' in a mortal life, a better understanding of how to transcend to eternal life; how to get out of this web of deceit of Satan called Sin City or Hotel California. 'We have to get out of this place; if that is the last thing we gonna do' (Eric Burdon and the Animals)! I think Father Michael gave the same message but use the wrong choice of words. The rite of passage should be one of 'enlightenment' rather than a morbid one. We are not here to hate this world! We are this world! Without us there is no world. We need this world as it is, as we find it, so that people can 'learn' to be spiritually 'enlightened' - to light up the eternal spirit son of God in all of us, in all of us 'sinners'. A 'sinner' who is sent to penance in penitentiary or mortifies himself by being dead mentally is not going to 'learn'! Learning is an active mental process of contemplation, meditation, analysis and prognosis. Therefore, we 'sinners' also have to 'learn' from our mistakes. Therefore Lent is nothing or comes to nothing if we do not go through the same rite of passage as Jesus did in his 40 days in the wilderness. We too, have to carry our own cross! Lent is about learning how to resist the temptation of 'Ego'! That is what the temptation of Satan is - he wants us to be infatuated with our worldly self-ego, so that we can continue to be consumed by lust, temptation and attachments of our 'monkey' mind and our five sense and our six sense (the seven more evil companions of the 'evil' spirit (our false self-ego) Matthew 12;43-45). Until our 'self-ego' dies, is mortified, our eternal spirit son of God, the angel of God, in us, cannot arise, cannot be awakened, cannot be 'baptised by the Holy Spirit, cannot start making the journey home of the Lost Prodigal Son! Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness 4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.4 Jesus answered, It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.[b] 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 If you are the Son of God, he said, throw yourself down. For it is written:

He will command his angels concerning you,

and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.[c] 7 Jesus answered him, It is also written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.[d] 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. 9 All this I will give you, he said, if you will bow down and worship me. 10 Jesus said to him, Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.[e] Page 2 of 3

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. I will not explain the above passage. Treat is as a learning or tutorial exercise. You have the right answer if you come to the conclusion that the devil could only tempt 'man' (if we still have our false worldly self-ego (the 'evil spirit')) but not Jesus as the 2nd Adam, the 'egoless' eternal spirit Son of God. An angel of God does not live on bread but spiritual 'bread'; 'man' does not get lifted to heaven (does not have to step on stone or earth again), for it is the spirit son of God instead that has to turn around and return home himself to the Spirit Father, and of course the spirit son of God has only the Spirit Father as the Father and the Devil can never be the surrogate. Ultimately, the lesson is that as worldly self-ego 'man' we live 'in this world'; but as an egoless eternal spirit son of God, an angel of God, we are 'not of this world'! Love and God Bless! Chuan 6/3/14

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