Posted tagged ‘Lent and catalogues of self-denials’

‘Martyrs of Charity’ Thoughts for Christianity’s Season of Lent

March 10, 2016

Promote Peace‘Sacrificial giving up,’ has been the keynote of Christian religious practices during the season of Lent down the ages. Recent happenings in Yemen culminating in the tragic news of the gunmen attacking the ‘Martyrs of Charity,’ a group of nuns belonging to Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, sent shock waves reverberating round the world.

Let’s face it in reality, and not ‘virtually’ as Christ’s death was in ‘reality,’ just like those martyrs, that would make Lent and give Lent a new meaning, not simply making a fetish of self-denials, of our pre-Lenten favorites. Doubtless these have a way of sanctifying oneself, paying for ones sins, to evade purgatory as traditional Christianity subscribes, but living in times of brazen acts of violence and killing, lent demands a more positive attitude of self-denials in a call to confront elements of darkness.

Ashes of Ash Wednesday, is a fervent reminder that we are constantly in death in the midst of life. “Remember man that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Dust of the earth to be mingled with the dust stars of heaven, the mission of man here on earth.    The martyrs of Yemen are a glaring reminder of this truth. Pope Francis called these martyrs “victims of indifference.” An act of senseless and diabolical violence.” How far do these horrendous events strike our conscience? Our globalized indifference be it Yemen or violence all around us? Let’s give it a thought to make of Lent have a more positive meaning to life.

Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East. Before the war over half the population lived on less than $2.00 a day. No access to clean water. According to World Food Program 41% of the population was food insecure and child malnutrition was highest in the world. 90% of the food was imported. Yet Saudi Arabia’s stringent air, water and land blockades in the name of preventing weapons from entering the war-torn country has prevented not just food but also fuel and medicine and urgently needed aid getting to millions in need.

Yemen’s war has killed over 2,800 civilians, numbered over 8,000 casualties and over 2.4 million displaced. In the atmosphere of political instability gunmen are freely stabilizing themselves exploiting the situation, funded by wealthy countries, fuelling ‘religious radicalism,’ pursuing fundamentalist ideas.

How much does this reality of death, pain and suffering comply with our mindset of indulgences and self-listed catalogue of self-denials.  As St. Paul says, ‘I may give up everything I have, and even give up my body to burnt – but if I have no love – this does me no good.’ Cor. 13: 1-3. Jesus says, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” How does this challenge oneself. Lent as a preparation for Easter! demands not simply words but action. Jesus gave us an example as an ultimate sacrifice on the cross. let us not simply love to stay-put but make a jump-start, join an Activist Group or Movement denouncing violence, death and destruction or call for disarmament of all parties to lay down arms and  look for peaceful means to solve political issues, in the face humanitarian disaster that war has in store..