CHRISTIANS should use the season of Lent to turn away from sinful ways and let God find them, UST Secretary General Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P. said during the Ash Wednesday Mass at the Plaza Mayor on Feb. 22.

In his homily, Coronel said returning to God requires a spiritual itinerary that begins with the heart, where thoughts and attitudes originate.

“Returning to the Lord with all your heart, therefore, means to begin the journey, not of a superficial and transitory conversion. Hindi panlabas lamang, but rather of a spiritual itinerary, with regard to the most intimate seat of our person,” he said.

Citing St. Paul, Coronel said God never left his children and wanted them to reunite with him.

Para bagang nagmamakaawa si St. Paul. Hinahanap tayo ng Diyos, magpahanap naman tayo at ng atin din Siyang matagpuan,” he said.

Ash Wednesday marked the start of the 40-day Lenten season, which observes Jesus Christ’s 40-day fasting in the Judean desert. 

During this time, Catholics are obliged to do penance by fasting, almsgiving and praying.

The UST secretary general said these acts must be done with the purest of intentions, not with hypocrisy.

“Hypocrites find it difficult to weep. They do not ask for the gift of tears because prayer is a heart-to-heart conversation with God,” Coronel said.

Ash Wednesday activities at the University included nine masses at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church and a mass confession at the Miguel de Benavides Park.

UST’s landmarks will be lit in violet until Feb. 24 and during Lenten Fridays to symbolize penance and reconciliation. 

Synodality in Lent

Penance during Lent remains pivotal to one’s synodal journey, Pope Francis said in his annual Lenten message issued on Feb. 19. 

“Lenten penance is a commitment, sustained by grace, to overcoming our lack of faith and our resistance to following Jesus on the way of the cross […] These requisites are also important for the synodal journey to which, as a Church, we are committed to making,” he said.

Lent also called for a personal and ecclesial transformation, the Supreme Pontiff said, citing a two-fold path to achieve synodality by listening and evading false religiosity. 

“First, in the word of God, which the Church offers us in the liturgy. May that word not fall on deaf ears; if we cannot always attend Mass, let us study its daily biblical readings, even with the help of the internet,” Francis said. 

“[D]o not take refuge in a religiosity made up of extraordinary events and dramatic experiences, out of fear of facing reality and its daily struggles, its hardships and contradictions,” he added. Allyssa Mae C. Cruz and Ammiel B. Maestrado with reports from Niña Angelica M. Rodriguez 


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