As we begin the Lenten season this year on Valentine’s Day it could be the best opportunity for us to enter into it with LOVE. Few days back I received a message on the phone it read, “If you are expecting a romantic dinner or date this year on Valentine’s Day, just forget about it. That day is for the Lord or you want to compete with Him? I think not…instead of carrying flowers around…have ashes applied on your forehead. So let us begin our Lent with LOVE.
Every Lent the Church invites us to the three traditional practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. And this being the theme for Lent 2018, here’s an excerpt from Holy Father, Pope Francis’ message for Lent 2018.
“The church, our Mother and Teacher, along with the often bitter medicine of the truth, offers us in the Lenten season the soothing remedy of prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
By devoting more time to prayer, we enable our hearts to root out our secret lies and forms of self-deception, and then to find the consolation God offers. He is our Father and he wants us to live life well.
Almsgiving sets us free from greed and helps us to regard our neighbor as a brother or sister. What I possess is never mine alone. How I would like almsgiving to become a genuine style of life for each of us! How I would like us, as Christians, to follow the example of the Apostles and see in the sharing of our possessions a tangible witness of the communion that is ours in the Church! For this reason, I echo Saint Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians to take up a collection for the community of Jerusalem as something from which they themselves would benefit (2Cor.8:10). This is all the more fitting during the Lenten season, when many groups take up collections to assist Churches and peoples in need. Yet I would also hope that, even in our daily encounters with those who beg for our assistance we would see such requests coming from God himself. When we give alms, we share in God’s providential care for each of his children. If through me God helps someone today, will he not tomorrow provide for my own needs? For no one is more generous than God?
Fasting weakens our tendency to violence; it disarms us and becomes an important opportunity for growth. On the one hand, it allows us to experience what the destitute and the starving have to endure. On the other hand, it expresses our own spiritual hunger and thirst for life in God. Fasting wakes us up. It makes us more attentive to God and our neighbor. It revives our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger.”
Whatever we do, let us do it with love.
Shared Lenten Penance Service – February 27 at 7:00 pm
A Lenten Penance Service will be held on Tuesday February 27 at 7:00 pm at Our Lady of Loretto Church. You are invited to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation – a sign of God’s merciful and loving forgiveness. We will have five priests available: Fr. Pat Brennan, Fr. Sal Briffa and Fr. Rick Hartmann will be available to hear confessions, including Fr. Henry and Fr. Socorro. We encourage you to take this opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation in preparation for Easter.