Simon and the other fishermen were unable to catch any fish, but when Simon placed his trust in Jesus, everything changed.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In embarking on our Lenten journey this year, let us recall the story of Simon and the Fishermen from the Gospel of St Luke.

Jesus had been preaching to a large crowd near a lake and saw two fishing boats. Jesus boarded Simon Peter’s boat and asked him to push the boat out a bit into the water so that He could distance himself from the pressing crowds.

When Jesus finished speaking, He asked Simon to take his boat out into deeper water and lower his nets. Simon replied, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command, I will lower the nets” (Luke 5:5). The result was a catch so big that the fishing nets began to tear.

To be truly open to the power of Christ in your life is to acknowledge your failures and admit your own inability to save yourself. Simon and the other fishermen were unable to catch any fish on their own, despite long and hard efforts, but when Simon placed his trust in Jesus, everything changed for him.

Temptations exist all around us. When you find yourself tempted, admit to your powerlessness, and tell Jesus how hard you have been working to overcome a particular sin without any success.

Approach Christ as if you are a beggar; ask for His help, and wait to see what happens. Develop a more personal relationship with God by reading stories about Jesus in the Bible or by meditating on the mysteries of Jesus’ life through the prayer of the rosary. This will help you to make God the centre of your life – to “put God first”.

St Paul instructs us to pray always. Even though you may have only a certain amount of time to spend in formal prayer, any moment of the day can be an opportunity for a dialogue with God.

Ask God how to respond in certain situations throughout the day or why He is sending a particular person to you. Invite God into every moment of your life. Ask for His Help, His Grace, His Love and His Mercy in all things. Then trust in Him – have Faith.

This October 11th will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (“Vatican II”). In honour of this historic occasion, Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he will kick off the “Year of Faith”, which will run from October 2012 to October 2013.

As we enter this period of Lent, let us reflect on how we may deepen our faith in God so that we may have a truly life-changing Lenten experience this year.

Lent is a time of fasting, almsgiving and prayer. We fast to overcome selfishness. By making our plates poor, we are better able to look away from ourselves and recognise God in the face of others.

We give alms to help us move away from the love of money and the temptation of greed. Through almsgiving, we share what we have with others, putting God above material goods.

Through prayer, we learn to listen more attentively to God, who speaks to our hearts each day. When we pray, we make time for God and nourish the faith that was initiated in our Baptism.

This Lent, let us look a bit more closely at the sincerity of our resolutions and sacrifices in order to determine how we can make our practices even more meaningful – to lead to more permanent changes in our lives.

What one resolution or sacrifice will you make this Lent that will help you “walk through the door of faith” and see what God has in store for your life?

My dear brothers and sisters, I pray that you will take advantage of this Lenten season to reflect on your lives, repent of your sins, receive God’s mercy and respond to this gift by being merciful to others.

Be open when you stand before God – empty, humble and repentant. Be determined to better your life.

Although you might not always understand why things happen to you, you must trust that God has a plan for your life. God is waiting for you to walk through the “door of faith”, as did Simon and the fishermen, and receive all His graces.

Yours devotedly in Christ,
Archbishop Nicholas Chia

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