Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!
Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
We have now entered into the great Lenten Fast. Hopefully these last few weeks of Septugesima have given us the opportunity to prepare for this holy time. Although the journey will at times be laborious and difficult, this is a necessary time for us as Catholics, if we hope to obtain the reward of eternal life. Without prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, it will be impossible for us to be with God in the life to come.
Be sure each day to pray that your Lenten penances remain strong, and ask the Lord for his assistance in the carrying out of these penances. The Lord is there to assist us in our crosses every day if we ask Him. If we find ourselves growing weak in our resolve, look at the Crucifix, and consider all that Christ has done for us so that we may have life.
Some have asked me about suggestions for readings during Lent. St. Francis de Sales has a book out on his Lenten Sermons; this would be a worthwhile meditation. Also, Thomas á Kempis has a book titled “On the Passion of Christ.” This is a good and easy read. For a more comprehensive look at the life of Christ, Archbishop Fulton Sheen has a book titled the “Life of Christ.” This is a long, but a good read. I would recommend or suggest any of these.
Remember that in addition to any voluntary penances you have made for Lent, I also encourage you to be sure to have examined your conscience and make some change in your life that is spiritually beneficial beyond Easter Sunday. Perhaps it is to pray more; perhaps it is to give up some vice, maybe it is to do works of charity more often. Allow the fruits and graces of Lent to continue beyond Easter. Lent is a small season within the Liturgical Calendar that is meant to inspire us to interior conversion everyday of the year. God has destined and called each of us to be saints. We may not be as known as St. Peter or St. Philip Neri, but we are called to be as great of saints as they. Seize this opportunity.
Please also take advantage of Stations of Cross, our Catechism classes, our special Masses, and certainly the Holy Week Liturgies during this time!
Lastly, I am encouraging you to invite someone new to our parishes. Maybe it is inviting back someone you haven’t seen in a while. You are, in many ways, the best ambassadors for our parishes. Make it a Lenten practice to get someone into the pews! The Church is and remains missionary. We in particular need to focus on those who have not been attending Mass, inviting those who aren’t Catholic, and bringing in more people from Over-the-Rhine & Camp Washington. It would be selfish of us not want to fill the pews, to share our Faith in Christ, and to give people an opportunity for the Sacraments because this is what leads us to eternal life. The Church’s image has been gravely injured, it is now up to us to repair it. Demonstrating to others what Christ can do for them, in spite of all that has gone on in the Church!
Have a blessed week ahead!