Radical Change Needed

    A married couple had lived together for twenty-five years in what outwardly seemed like a reasonably good union. The husband was a good provider. The wife was a good housekeeper. They went to Church together every Sunday and prayed together every night before they retired. But they did have one problem that seemed insurmountable. They could not have a conversation that didn't end up in an argument. The wife finally had enough, but divorce was out of the question because of her religious scruples. She had a better idea. One night as the couple settled down for their nightly prayers, she said to her husband, "We must put an end to this terrible situation we're in. We can't go on like this anymore. Since today is the first day of Lent, why don't we pray that things will change. Let's pray that the Lord will call one of us home to Him. Then I can go live with my sister."

    To end the quarrel, change is required by both the spouses. You cannot throw the ball on your spouse and act as if there is nothing for you to do. You cannot play with temptation of fighting. But you do have to fight temptation. When people fall into temptation, a great many make plans for disaster ahead of time. The couple did exactly that. A real fighting of temptation will lead to radical change.

    A dad told his son not to swim in a particular canal. "OK, dad," he said, but came home carrying a wet bathing suit that evening. "Where have you been?" asked the father. "Swimming in the canal," answered the boy. "Didn't I tell you not to swim there?" asked the father. "Yes, dad," answered the boy. "Why did you?" he asked, "Well, dad," he explained, "I had my bathing suit with me and I couldn't resist the temptation." "Why did you take your bathing suit with you?" his dad questioned. "So I'd be prepared to swim, in case I was tempted," he replied. Too many of us expect to sin and do sin. Whenever we play with temptation by holding it, it is easy to drift into great danger. A firm determination to fight temptation will lead to radical change. Then you will see a new life.

    There was a man who had an apple tree in his garden. He loved apples and believed he could not live without them. The tree never failed to supply him with apples, but they lacked in quality - there was no nourishment in them. He consulted an expert on apple trees. The expert looked at the tree and pointed out some obvious deficiencies in it. The branches needed pruning and spraying because they were encrusted with moss. The earth around it could also be tilled and fertilized. The man listened and acted on the expert's advice; yet, the following autumn, the apples, though slightly more plentiful, were no more nourishing. The quality remained unchanged. The man was disappointed and once more consulted the expert. "What more can I do?" he asked. "You are wasting your time." The expert answered. "What do you mean?" "Obviously the only thing to do is to cut the tree down and plant a new one in its place." "But what will I do in the meantime for apples?" "You will have to do without them, won't you?" came the answer.

    The question is: was the man ready for a radical decision, in order to have new and wholesome fruit? To have nourishing fruit the man needs to plant a new plant. A radical change of heart is required to experience the fruits of Lent. Are you ready for a radical change of heart? Are you serious about your change of life?

In the Service of the Lord,
  Fr Thainese Alphonse


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