Houston, Texas, USA (Wednesday, 02-18-2015, Gaudium Press) The Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, has done a reflection for Lent 2015. The text of the message of the Cardinal follows:
Feb. 18 is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. This yearly 40-day retreat of the Church is a blessed invitation and a joyful summons to all. It is a time of renewal, repentance, prayer and fasting, mercy and forgiveness. In Jesus Christ, the Father reconciles us and the wounded world to Himself; Lent is the time to hasten to this embrace of reconciliation. The time is short and the summons is urgent.
During this 40-day retreat, there are “Lenten” practices. The practices include the Church’s request for a minimum of fasting and abstinence: fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and abstinence from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent. Fasting from food and other good things is a signal that if we are too full of ourselves, there is no room for the Lord and his grace. Fasting is a sign that we lack some significant dimensions of our friendship with the Lord and want to reinvigorate these dimensions and make room for them. Perhaps we could fast as well from over-reliance on social media.
Other Lenten practices involve prayer. These include the journey of the Stations of the Cross, more attention and time to the Rosary and reading of the Scriptures in a more meditative and focused way. Additionally, many faithful also increase the participation in daily Mass during Lent.
One beautiful Lenten practice of inestimable worth is the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance; going to Confession is a must. And, the practice of almsgiving, of reaching out in mercy to those in need, is one of the most palpable ways of celebrating the season and doing it well! “Lenten” practices assist us in overcoming a constant spiritual pitfall: to grow bored with the Lord! The Lord is not boring!
May Lent be joyful but also challenging this year. May we come to Easter ready to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection as genuine resurrection in ourselves, our parishes and our communities. May our hearts be made pure, be reconciled in the blood of Jesus Christ and ready for every act of solidarity with the members of the Body of Christ. †
By Daniel Cardinal DiNardo