From Our Pastor...

Posted on February 07, 2024 in: Pastor

Dear Parishioners:

Lent is a season of hope. With ashes on our foreheads and hope in our hearts, we go forth to love and serve in His strength and with His love. For by God's grace in Christ Jesus, we do not have to stay the way we are. God loves us just the way we are, but He loves us too much to let us stay that way.  Lent is a time set apart, a holy time, to allow God to have His way with us in a deliberate, focused way so that we may indeed step forth, ready to live, love, and serve in His Holy Name. Ash Wednesday opens the door to the 40-day season of Lent, a process of preparation for Holy Week.

Lent, which comes from the Germanic word for “springtime,” can be viewed as a spiritual spring cleaning: a time for taking a spiritual inventory then cleaning out those things which hinder our relationship with Jesus Christ and our love and service with Him. Lent is really a time of revival in liturgical churches as God's people prepare to celebrate the Resurrection with depth and significance.

Our Lenten disciplines are to ultimately transform our entire person: body, soul, and spirit and help us become more like Christ, not in our own power, but in His.  Eastern Christians call this process theosis which Saint Athanasius describes as “becoming by grace what God is by nature.

The Lenten practices, of prayer, fasting, and giving provide us with concrete examples of how to more closely connect our lives with our Lord. Obviously, Lent is NOT the only time we can practice these spiritual disciplines; we should indeed be practicing them all year long. This Lent presents us the opportunity to do a “deep cleaning,” to focus more fully and completely on weak areas of our spiritual walk.  Lent is a season that reminds us to repent and ask God to re-center our lives around Him, with our priorities straight and our hearts forgiven and cleansed. Yes, we should do so each day of the year. But sin is an insidious thing, slipping in here, taking a little ground there, and, wrapped up in our busy lives, we often do not notice the darkness creeping further and further into our souls.

Ash Wednesday and Lent provide us with a time set apart to present ourselves before God, asking His help and guidance in doing a “spiritual spring cleaning,” a fresh chance to say “Yes” to the Lover of our Souls who created us, who made us in His own image. Lent is the time for a restoration project that will reveal the beauty of God's design for us.  As  we begin this Lent let our prayers ask God to reveal to us where He wants to work on our hearts during this Season of Lent.

Lenten Blessings!

Msgr. John Shamleffer