Parish of St Matthew the Apostle,
Douglas, Isle of Man

Father Tom writes …… The season of Lent

Dear Friends,

One day the devil called a meeting in hell with all his demons. Top of the agenda was the question of how to get people to stop believing in God and end up ignoring sin and being forever at each other’s’ throats. This would then swell hell’s numbers.

One of the chief demons said, “I have a plan. Let’s tell the people that there is no God and they’ve been tricked.” Another demon said, “No, that’s too obvious. Of course, there’s a just and holy God. Anyone except a fool knows that.”

“Well then,” another demon said, “Let them believe that he is a just and holy God but tell them that they are so sinful that they’ve had their last chance and now he won’t accept them. That will demoralise them.”

But another said, “No, that won’t work. Everyone knows he’s also a God of mercy, and anyone who recognises their sinfulness and repents is assured of his forgiveness.” “I know exactly what we can do!” another demon exclaimed, “Let them believe there is a God – a just and holy God, full of mercy, but let’s just tell them that there’s plenty of time.”

Lent is the season of penance and self-denial. It is six weeks when we take stock of our lives and see whether they are taking us closer to God or further away from him. Is there any rush? Should we get urgent about it? Should we begin looking to see if there is a pattern about the way we fall into situations that we know are sinful and do us no good? Are there aspects of our lifestyle that need checking? Are some of our desires questionable? Are we genuinely trying to purify our motives? Do we do enough for others, close to home or those abroad who are in need?

Lent is about action, about opening ourselves to the working of God’s grace, about having a change of heart, a U-turn in the normal pattern of our behaviour. It’s a holy season of self-denial. But don’t worry; there’s plenty of time. Or so the devil says!

With prayer and best wishes,

Fr Tom