Greetings of Christ’s peace!
Ash Wednesday signals the beginning of the holy season of Lent, which concludes on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. During the 40 days of our spiritual journey, the Church invites us to a deeper reflection on the central mystery of our faith; that is, the Paschal Mystery of Christ, in order to unite ourselves to the central mysteries of His suffering, death and resurrection for our salvation and redemption from sin. Lent is a special time for penance and repentance in response to God’s invitation for renewal and conversion of heart through prayer, good works and sacrifice in the midst of a secular culture of materialism, individualism and religious indifference.
The Lenten season is a beautiful reminder of our Christian vocation to holiness, to live a holy life through God’s grace. It is an invitation to renew our relationship with God and with one another by turning away from sin and remaining faithful to the Gospel, as well as by spending time with God in prayer and by establishing right relationships with each other in charity, reconciliation and peace. This is a great moment to open the path for the Lord to create in us a new heart that desires only what God wants in our life. Let us then open our path to repentance, forgiveness, conversion and transformation of our life.
Pope Francis, in his Lenten message for this year, said that “the Lent of the Son of God was an entry into the desert of creation to make it become again that garden of communion with God.” He invites us to embody His Paschal Mystery more deeply and concretely in our personal life, family and social life by building a culture of encounter with Christ in our life and in the lives of other people.
As we ready ourselves to celebrate the gift of our redemption in Christ, let us live, preach and share the Gospel of love and salvation with others, especially our brothers and sisters in need of God’s love and compassion: the poor, the sick and elderly, the refugees and the immigrants, the innocent children in their mother’s womb targeted by abortion, the victims and survivors of sexual abuse, as well as Pope Francis and our Church during this trying time. Prayer, sacrifice and works of mercy allow us to put our faith into practice in concrete, everyday actions.
Let us embark on our Lenten spiritual journey as one faith family in union with Christ on the path to His suffering, death and resurrection to grow, develop and establish a closer and deeper relationship with God. With focused minds and hearts in Christ, may the grace of God provide us a favorable time to renew our hope and strengthen our faith for the conversion of heart and transformation of our life, our society and the world.
Lenten blessings to everyone!