Lenten Pastoral Letter-2012
Dearly Beloved in Christ:
May God give you His abundant blessings during this Lenten Season.
Well before the acquisition of the name “Lent”, the primitive church celebrated a feast in which fasting, solemnity, prayer, reflection and spiritual study was paramount. As time progressed, this feast eventually shaped itself around the Gospel accounts of Jesus in the wilderness for forty days prior to the start of His public ministry. For Jesus, this was an intense time when new converts were professed and when those who were lapsing in their profession of faith were brought back to the fold.
The roots of the word Lent are to be found in England. It means spring, and its origin suggests the “lengthening of days”. The five Fridays of Lent commemorate the instruments of the Passion:
- after Ash Wednesday – The Most Holy Crown of Thorns
- after 1st Sunday of Lent – The Most Holy Lance and Nails
- after 2nd Sunday of Lent – The Most Holy Shroud
- after 3rd Sunday of Lent – The Most Holy Five Wounds
- after 4th Sunday of Lent – The Most Precious Blood
Around 1962, in Canada, the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer replaced Ash Wednesday with a “Penitential Service”. In this, the faithful were invited to utilize the Lenten Season for a time of personal growth and building a deeper relationship with Our Lord, Jesus, the Christ. As Catholics, this conscious introspection is also an important aspect of our approach to the Lenten season.
Lent is a time for personal spiritual growth. Spiritual growth comes in through a deep understanding of one’s gifts and weaknesses and reconciling oneself with God. It is a time we are called to remember our humanness that joins with the human side of Jesus, and a time to remember our spiritual side that joins with Jesus’ spirit.
One way to reconcile both the corporeal and spiritual divinity through our humanity is for us to personally exercise our Lenten devotions. Whether we are drawn to formal liturgical prayers or free flowing expressions of faith through private prayer or public actions, we are all called to public witness, repentance and sacrifice.
Remember, also, how St. Paul in Romans (14:19) encourages us to seek, “the ways which lead to peace and the ways in which we can support one another.” We are reminded by St Paul that since all of us are members of Christ’s body as integral parts, we “should be equally concerned for all the other.” As concerned faithful, we are called to acknowledge the good that the Lord Jesus is doing in others and give thanks for the wonderful blessings that God freely dispenses on us all in an effort to continually offer us his graces, so we may continually accomplish our life’s journey as God’s chosen children.
As Lent advances these forty days, let us all be called to look deep within, remember where it all began and most of all, what we are all called to do, namely: pray avidly, fast, sacrifice, do penance and help one another, but most of all prepare the way of the Lord!
May God bless you abundantly as you journey inwardly this Lent.
Sincerely yours in Christ,