Every Ash Wednesday, Christians and people of good will officially begin the season of Lent! Lent is a period of penitential preparation for Easter (Mk 1:15); a moment to observe and commemorate the passion, death and resurrection of Christ, an opportune time to reflect as a disciple of Christ, a period to grow in fidelity and love of the Divine.
Biblically, sin is identical with humanity by unchecked pride (1Jn 1:8-10)! Lenten spirituality implores humility because he to whom God gives light to understand and sorrow for their sin, is delivered from the total blindness of pride and is capable of receiving all fitting spiritual power. This growth in perfect charity and humility mitigates evil in a spiritual person!
During Lent, we reorder ourselves towards authentic Charity. This self-accusation and metanoia resolutely emerges the face of God. “If my people turn away from their wickedness (2Chr.7:14).’’ In this remorse, every Ugandan is implicitly a spiritual Lenten subscriber!
Lenten spirituality is identical with Uganda’s Motto because occasionally, we have offended eternal God! This national inclusivity encompasses the political, social-economic, cultural-religious, intellectual and familial spectrum of which every Ugandan is part!
In Nations like Papua New Guinea, a national repentance day is celebrated in remorse and repentance to God for every misgiving! This day is centred on all religious denominations in prayer with people repenting all offences committed against God and humanity! This belief is factual that religious values are critical to their success and essential to the identity of Papua, making that country different globally.
The essence of national repentance is breakage of shackles of sin that enslave humanity to liberation from all forms of demonic oppression, and to teach us how to unconditionally live in solidarity with humanity.
Above the historical circumstances which we recall, we need to pay special attention to the religious reasons for the spiritual blindness and death! Denial of the weight of social-political, religious-cultural and economic evils in the history of antagonism against Ugandans and divinity is unchecked pride!
The sins which we have to repent of as individuals belong and relate to our private capacity, such as the management of our family economy, differences arising from jarring interests and interfering claims between us and neighbours.
We act as a nation when, through the organs of Executive, Judicially and legislative power which speaks the will of the nation enact laws, form alliances, make war or peace, dispose of the public money, or do anything of those things which belong to us in our collective capacity. This is the true and only spiritual interpretation of lent.
False repentance is a spiritual tragedy because it abuses the mercy of God and breeds contempt of the Divine!
Pharaoh committed the same (Ex 9:27-30; 10:16-17), Balaam was intercepted by the angel of God on his way to Balak(Num22:34ff), Judas, who betrayed Jesus teaches us the same (Mt 27:4).
King David, on the other hand, displayed true and genuine repentance (Ps 51)! Pronouncing “I have sinned’’ is not proof of genuine repentance unless accompanied with hearty conversion, personal renewal, fervent Prayer and solidity with humanity.
The nations being composed of individuals, the faults of those nations proceed from the same bad passions, the same pride, selfishness and thirst of gain by which individuals are led to transgress the rules of duty! This requires a national spirituality (Isaiah 58: 6-7)!
Let us lay aside the grimace of hypocrisy, stand up for what we are and boldly profess the will of our creator! Uganda’s Motto must reflect Ugandans the Holiness of God and the pride of our Nation.
If we have offended both, Lenten spirituality and true repentance is the ideal for national beauty. Perfect love, writes St John, ‘’casts out fear’’ so does perfect repentance!
Fr. Mukiibi is a priest in Kansanga parish, Kampala. firstname.lastname@example.org