From our pastor Father Neil Herlihy
Our Lenten journey has begun, and Lent is a good time to focus on what is truly important in our lives. Our Lenten experience should include a clear and compelling witness to our faith. It is a time to reflect on our lives, and discipline ourselves so we can make true and substantive spiritual progress. Our Holy Father Pope Francis has stated that Lent, when the faithful are called in a special way to fast, pray, and give alms, it is meant to wake up Christians and help them see that God can give them the strength to change their lives and their surroundings.
As previously mentioned, as part of our Lenten experience, some of our parishioners attend daily Mass or pray the rosary as a family each day. Many parishioners each Friday during Lent commemorate the Passion of Jesus through the “Stations of the Cross” and come together for a communal meal. Some also set aside some time during Lent to participate in a spiritual retreat or a day of recollection. Such spiritual activities help us to clearly witness our faith and assist us in our spiritual journey. They help us to focus on Jesus and more fully appreciate what He has done for us. They also help us enter more fully into the Lenten spirit of sacrifice, renewal, and repentance.
The Lord in His mercy gives us the grace and time to seek renewal and conversion. He gives us the great Sacrament of Reconciliation and He gives us this season of Lent as a time of spiritual cleansing. Pope Francis has challenged us to keep our focus clearly on the Lord. He stated:
“Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbor. The Lord, who overcame the deception of the Tempter during the forty days in the desert, shows us the path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need.”
He also reminded us “…to pray for one another so that, by sharing in the victory of Christ, we may open our doors to the weak and the poor. Then we will be able to experience and share to the full joy of Easter.”
As we reflect on the words of Pope Francis, as disciples we are challenged to use this time wisely as we continue and persevere on this Lenten journey of faith.