The annual observance of the Lenten Season is here.
It follows the two days Lundi (Monday) and Mardi (Tuesday) Gras Carnival celebrations. It is a seven weeks period of spiritual introspection and renewal in preparation for the celebration of Easter. Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ; the essence of our Christian beliefs and values. It is a celebration of new life. So we indulge in several different activities that would bring us closer to a state of spiritual health and preparation for that life-giving Feast of Easter.
Earlier this year, a friend sent me the following Whatsapp message. “Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you”. I was inclined to discard it as another one of those “forwards” circulating in cyberspace. But something edged me on to read again and again. Wow! Having read and understood the same, I sent it on to a few personal WhatsApp contacts. I received only one comment. Perhaps an indication of how people, see these things.
As we embark on the annual observance of the Lenten Season, I thought I’d share it again. This time to a wider audience. Not because I am a “holier than thou” creature. Absolutely not. But it is precisely because the message is so personal to me and so appropriate for the season of repentance and spiritual reflections. I certainly can learn and seek to adapt a life style to fall in line with the theology therein.
The two-days of carnival revelry (February 12th and 13th) provided the environment for the average individual in our small and close knit society to become judge, jury and executioner over his fellow man. Individuals or groups of individuals would have been singled out and judgement passed on them as immoral and sinful creatures whose sin is worse than others or even my own. We might have passed judgement on the gluttonous drunkard and referred to him as a “greedy rum pig” and renamed him/her “rumella”. Yes, there were many instances of indecent exposure – male and female alike. Perhaps certain costumes showed more than what our individual consciences and morality would allow. That foul language. The questionable relationships on public show; assault and battery; disrespect for authority and our list can go on and on.
In such a judgmental environment, we easily forget our own sinfulness in what we have done or failed to do as individuals and society. Indeed in passing judgement on another brother or sister, we have ourselves sinned. That is why we must forever remain vigilant to our own sinfulness.
The Lenten season is a good moment for each of us as individuals first and foremost and as a country to reflect on judging others simply because they sin different to us.