A message from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.
The Holy Season of Lent arrives once more with its invitation to “repent and believe the Good News.” Those very words are used as ashes are imposed upon our foreheads to mark the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Both parts of the liturgical directive refer to an active, continuing disposition of heart and soul, not a “one shot deal.” Lent is time of conversion which is always a process. Conversion recognizes something in our lives that needs to change, that we make a commitment to change and that we, indeed, change. Perhaps that something is “sin” — evil that we know as evil and, yet, will to do; perhaps it is something that leads to sin or makes sin easier; perhaps it is an attitude that is contrary to or inconsistent with good humanity or Christian values; perhaps it is something we fail to do.
Conversion takes account of all these things and invites change, real change, permanent change. That is what the Holy Season of Lent intends and provides in real time, even with some urgency.[Continue reading ...]
A message from Pope Francis for Lent 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God “with all their hearts” (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us. Even when we sin, he patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, he shows us his readiness to forgive (cf. Homily, 8 January 2016).
Lent is a favourable season for deepening our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered us by the Church: fasting, prayer and almsgiving. At the basis of everything is the word of God, which during this season we are invited to hear and ponder more deeply. I would now like to consider the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (cf. Lk 16:19-31). Let us find inspiration in this meaningful story, for it provides a key to understanding what we need to do in order to attain true happiness and eternal life. It exhorts us to sincere conversion. [Continue reading…]