Lenten Message 2012
We have an opportunity to reflect together on the theme of Lent.
In fact, now, with the help of the Word of God and the sacraments … now is the time to renew our journey of faith. This journey involves us in an on-going process of conversion, a spiritual process that anticipates the celebration of the Easter Vigil which highlights the importance of our Baptism.
In his Lenten message the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, describes a Lenten journey that is focused on an encounter with Christ: Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works (Hebrews 10:24).
In his message the Pope has emphasizes three aspects of the Christian life: concern for others, reciprocity, and personal holiness.
We might ask if we, personally, are willing to become visible and effective signs of God’s presence and if we are willing to do this day after day and in every situation?
The Holy Father invites us to live Lent in a very specific manner, namely, to structure our lives (in accord with the Letter to the Hebrews) around the three theological virtues: it means approaching the Lord “sincere in heart and filled with faith” (v. 22), keeping firm “in the hope we profess” (v. 23), and ever mindful of living a life “of love and good works” (v.24).
The practice of these three virtues should not only involve us in external practices but above all these virtues must be internalized. These virtues can be practiced as we participate in the liturgy and community prayer, as we accept and form relationships with our brothers and sisters and as we engage in the process of fraternal correction.
We are very aware of our mission to make the church present in the midst of our world and we are not afraid to involve ourselves with enthusiasm in this task.
As a result of the Pope’s message we allow ourselves to be led into the desert, we allow ourselves to be instructed by the Lord with regard to the meaning of temptation and we hope to experience God’s great love for us.
This is also a time for us to follow Jesus in the mystery of his passion and therefore this is an opportunity for us to deepen our practice of three important elements: prayer, penance and sharing.
May we engage in this process and dedicate more time to prayer, thus putting God in the center of our lives. Through the penitential practices which we began on Ash Wednesday may we seek to be converted on a daily basis so that we might be renewed by the fire of God’s love! May these same penitential practices be undertaken in such a way that we have a greater “hunger” for God! Finally, may we share not only what we have but more importantly may we share who we are!
As a result of living our life as Vincentians, a life that is characterized by apostolic zeal, mortification (self-sacrifice), simplicity, humility, meekness and charity, may we allow ourselves to be guided in rediscovering ourselves as children of God and may we accompany Jesus as he hands his life over to God, only to rise again three days later. Yes, may this Lenten season be a time to live the Paschal mystery.
May this time of Lent be a holy time for all of you!