To me at least, it only feels like a few days since we were celebrating the great feast of Christmas. And yet today, we are suddenly being drawn into the Sacred Season of Lent. Time truly flies! On Wednesday we begin this holy time in the life of the Church, which offers each of us an opportunity to focus more deeply on the love of God, and a spiritual opportunity to become more reflective about our personal relationship with Our Most Holy Redeemer, and his journey towards death, all done freely for the sake of the salvation of the world, and for each one of us.
I would like to invite each of us to make use of this special time of grace, to grow deeper into our own understanding of the nature of the love of Jesus for us all, and for His call to manifest our faith through our love for one another.
It is a deep tradition for us, as Catholics, to mark the period of Lent as a time of sacrifice and opportunity to repent from our sin and to experience a conversion of heart. We often see this simply in giving up things for Lent; such as doing without chocolate or alcohol. But perhaps we can see this in a more positive light too. We might, for example, think of giving up gossip and harshness of heart towards others. We might actively try to be more forgiving and accepting of one another. These are real and lasting conversions of the heart, that will draw us closer to the nature of the love of Jesus.
In terms of the spiritual aspect of Lent, here at Holy Redeemer parish, we do all that we can to make opportunities available for each and every person. In particular, I would like to offer an invitation to each of you to attend our Lenten Novena service, which will take place each Thursday evening at 7.30.p.m. we have built up a wonderful tradition of the Lenten Novena over the past years. This year our focus will be on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. I am absolutely delighted that our Confirmation candidates for this year have committed themselves to attending. I hope that they will be supported by their parents and sponsors. But this is a spiritual opportunity for all of us, where we can express in a practical way our desire to grow deeper into prayer.
We are presented with another opportunity each Friday evening when we celebrate the Stations of the Cross at 7.30.p.m. I have to confess that, since the time that I have been here, I have a little disappointed that so few of our parish members make the effort to attend this time of prayer. I urge all of us therefore to make use of this further opportunity of grace. May we all be blessed in this Sacred Season.
Fr Gerard, CSsR