Dearly Beloved in Christ,
Christians across the globe are preparing themselves to observe yet another Lent season that leads to Easter. It reminds Jesus’ victory on the Cross and the triumph of His resurrection. The spiritual journey of lent leads each one through the traditions and practices of church that encourages worship, prayer, fasting and acts of charity during this period. The practice of restrictions and abstinence is for discipline and to improve one’s relationship with God. When personal interests, habits and inclinations are curtailed, a divine intervention empowers the human mind for greater purposes in life. Christ becomes the centre of meditation during the Lent and therefore all other priorities related to life become secondary. This is the message that is to be carried during the Lent. This is how the author, Andrew Murray, explains the need for prayer and fasting during Lent: "Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, conrm the resolution that we are ready to sacrice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God."
May I urge you to join in the preparations for Lent by adhering to the following Seven R's : 1. Read Bible 2. Reect on the Lord’s promises 3. Realize God’s mercy 4. Rejoice in the Lord 5. Respond to God’s voice 6. Revive your lives in the Holy Spirit. 7. Reform your ways for the Lord. Along with these, participate in the Great Lent prayers with a sense of dedication and humility. May the season of Lent be a time of transformation and renewal for each one of us. Let us together pray the prayer of Martin Luther, “Lord Jesus, You are my righteousness, I am your sin. You took on you what was mine; yet set on me what was yours. You became what you were not, that I might become what I was not.”
This month is also the time of the year when many of our children are going to complete their studies or are looking forward to a new academic year. Education has a huge meaning in our lives, but sadly its meaning is reduced to viewing it as a means of livelihood only – nothing more and nothing less. Is this only what education stands for in our life? Is not education also a way to make life better? “Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.” said the famous twentieth century lay theologian, C.S Lewis. Since the only source of all wisdom, virtue, or excellence is Jesus, let us seek Him with all our heart. Let us seek to yield to Him so that He can do His righteousness through us. Let this Lent rejuvenate our hearts for the greater glory of the Kingdom of God! Let us pray and guide the next generation to the wisdom of God to lead a value-centric Christian Life !
It is a great joy that Most Rev Dr Philipose Mar Chrysotom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan has been awarded for Padma Bhushan. The Mar Thoma Church, and the Christian community all over world for that matter, truly consider this as an honor, fully knowing that the Metropolitan deserves even greater recognition. All who love and respect Thirumeni are elated and proud on this joyous occasion. May God bless His Grace to live many more years after completing one hundred years of age.
May God bless you all !
Sajesh Mathews Achen