Updated: Apr 22, 2022
Anthony de Mello (an Indian Jesuit priest and psychotherapist) shared a story of Swami Vivekanadan entitled – ‘Change the World by changing Me’. A wise man said about himself: “I was a revolutionary when I was young, and all my prayer to God was: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change the world.’ As I approached middle age and realised that half of my life was gone without changing a single soul, I changed my prayer into: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come in contact with me. Just my family and friends and I shall be content.’ Now that I am an old man and my days are numbered, I have begun to see how foolish I have been. My one prayer now is: ‘Lord, give me the grace to change myself.’ If I had prayed for this right from the start I should not have wasted my life.”
We should not waste our time thinking about changing the world and others, but instead to change ourselves and begin transforming our lives. We cannot change another person no matter how hard we try, but we can change ourselves. God is willing to give us a second chance. When we take every opportunity to change ourselves, then there will be a brighter future in our spiritual journey. By pointing our fingers at the attitude of others, we are wasting energy and time, therefore, the only person we can change is ourself. We should avoid criticizing others, especially with destructive criticism because that is deliberately hurtful.
Looking at our country’s politics, we ask ourselves - what is happening? Our nation was once a blessed nation with many learned people. Now we are ruled by ignorant and corrupted leaders. Our country was once advancing in education, socio-politics and economic prosperity, but now it has a lack of far-sighted and honest leaders and we have fallen behind many other Asian countries. When leaders themselves have a change in mindset, surely that changes everything.
As for our spiritual aspect, it is never too late to change ourselves. It is time to ask God for His mercy and to repent for our sins. We don’t need to wait or ask for a sign from God to change or repent. The crucified Christ Jesus on the Cross, who came to redeem the world, is the only sign for the repentance of sinners.
Our life can be tough and challenging, but our prayer should always be, “Lord, give me the grace and strength to change myself!”
On this second Sunday of Lent, the Church invites us to put extra effort into making a change, and making our spiritual journey a meaningful and significant one. We bring ourselves to our knees into the confessional to obey the will of the Father, as we pay attention to His voice which calls us to repent from our sins. Let’s continue to observe prayer, fasting, abstinence and almsgiving in order to encounter God in words and sacraments, as we prepare for the Resurrection of the Lord on Easter.