A message from Fr John

Posted on: 16/02/2021

Dear Friends

Good morning - let’s hope this slightly warmer weather holds out for a while.

Today, Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, I have adapted a somewhat abridged version of Pope Francis’ Lenten Message. I think that in these times of isolation it is a way of staying in touch with all those throughout the world for whom this Lent will be an even greater trial of faith. We pray for the Catholic Church in Myanmar and USA who in their own very different ways are having to react to the changed political situation. May the flame of faith burn ever stronger in their hearts - building bridges not walls.

In his message for Lent 2021, Pope Francis calls on us to "renew our faith, draw from the living waters of hope, and receive with open hearts the love of God."
He says:

This Lenten journey… is even now illumined by the light of the resurrection, which inspires the thoughts, attitudes and decisions of the followers of Jesus. The journey of conversion, through fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, makes it possible for us to live lives of sincere faith, living hope, and effective charity.

Accepting and living the truth revealed in Christ means, first of all, opening our hearts to God's word. Through fasting, experienced as a form of self-denial, we are able to rediscover God's gift and recognize that, created in His image and likeness, we find our fulfilment in Him. Fasting, too, by helping us recognize our own poverty, helps us to love both God and neighbour.

Lent is a time for believing. For welcoming God into our lives and allowing Him to 'make His dwelling' in us. Lent is precisely the season of hope, when we turn back to God. Hope is given to us as inspiration and interior light" through recollection and silent prayer. The experience of hope in Lent means receiving the hope of Christ, who gave His life on the Cross and was raised by God on the third day.

Love is a leap of the heart. It brings us out of ourselves and creates bonds of sharing and communion. Love is a gift that gives meaning to our lives. Love helps us to see all men and women as our brothers and sisters. Charity is multiplied when given with love, as we see not only in the Scriptures, but in our own lives, too, when we give alms with joy and simplicity. To experience Lent with love means caring for those who suffer or feel abandoned because of the Covid-19 pandemic. We should speak words of reassurance, and help others to realize that God loves them as sons and daughters. Every moment of our lives is a time for believing, hoping, and loving.

The call to experience Lent as a journey of conversion, prayer and sharing of our goods, helps us - as communities and as individuals - to revive the faith that comes from the living Christ, the hope inspired by the breath of the Holy Spirit and the love flowing from the merciful heart of the Father.

St Joseph, companion on our journey, pray for us

Fr John

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