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Mar 11, 2007

Lent - a time for solitude and silence

"How's your Lent so far?" Somebody asked me.

Silence. I couldn't really answer. I told myself on Ash Wednesday that I would waste more time in contemplation and reflection of the Word of God all throughout Lent. But look, this is already the 3rd Week of Lent, what have I done so far?

Sigh. I can't remember what I've done, except abstaining from meat and fasting from 2 meals on Friday. That's it? Well, looks like that's it. What a shame.

My utmost desire is still to spend time in prayer. I even planned to stay with the Franciscan sisters last year, to pray and to discern. The purpose I chose a place away from home was because I felt that I need the correct environment to concentrate on praying, avoiding any forms of distractions - the internet, the TV, the computer, my family and friends, and my favourite way of communication, the mobile phone -- any comfort of life to stay close with the Lord

Just recently, the Carmelite sisters lend me the book Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, and as I flipped through it, this passage caught my eyes and thoughts:

Seek for a convenient time to search your own conscience, and think often of the benefits of God. Abandon curiosity and read such matters as shall stir you to compunction of heart for your sins, rather than only to pass the time. If you will withdraw yourself from superfluous words and from unprofitable business, and from hearing rumours and idle talkes, you will find convenient time to be occupied in holy meditation.

The most holy men and women who ever lived fled, as far as they could, the company of worldly-minded men, and chose to serve God in the secrets of their hearts. One holy man said: As often as I have been among worldly company, I have left it with less fervor of spirit than I had when I came. And this we well realize, whenever we talk long, for it is not so hard always to keep silence as it is not to exceed in words when we speak much. It is also easier to be always alone at home than to go forth into the world and not offend. Therefore, whoever intends to come to an inward fixing of his heart upon God and to have the grace of devotion must with our Saviour Christ withdraw from the world.


Thomas highlighted the importance of practicing solitude and silence: ...whoever intends to come to an inward fixing of his heart upon God and to have the grace of devotion must with our Saviour Christ withdraw from the world.

It's already the 3rd Week of Lent. Left with another 2 more weeks to go before the Holy Week. What have you done so far? I'm hoping that, no matter what, I would make it a point to spend a little more time with Christ everyday -- if I don't practice solitude and silence now in preparation for Easter, then when?

Wishing you all a blessed and fruitful Lenten season.
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