Most, if not many of us have a CPF (Central Provident Fund) Account from which we can withdraw to buy a house, make investments or pay medical bills.


But what about our Spiritual CPF Account?

Yes, our Compassion, Prayer and Fasting Account! Have we managed to top that up lately? I coined this CPF acronym in my mind as I listened to Fr Terence preaching on Ash Wednesday.

As Father encouraged us to find new ways of observing the season of Lent, he underscored that the key tenets of the season were fasting, prayer and almsgiving (which is compassion for the poor).

I watched more intently this year, as parishioners received the ashes. Many stepped forward enthusiastically for the sign on their foreheads. Others squinted as ash fell into their eyes yet others were more self-conscious of the greyish mark for all to see – rubbing it off as they left the Church for their daily routines.

Ashes a mark of God’s mercy

As Fr Terence generously marked me with the ash – some immediately fell on my light-coloured shirt, I was going to start my own ash swatting when it dawned on me that if Christ bravely offered up his will to the Father – ‘Not my will but yours be done’ (Luke 22:42) what would I really be giving up if I let people see my forehead blackened. My shirt a little stained? Would that make me less of a person? I was not going to be scourged or spat on for the sign of my belief in Christ’s love for me.

I was consciously aware of the Lord’s wondrous mercy and grace in my own life. I thanked Him for this time of renewal during Lent – which He has generously given to me. I knew that it was The Season.

I had made my first deposit into my own spiritual CPF this Lent on Ash Wednesday.

André Ahchak

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