Monday, February 24, 2014

Making Ready

February 25, 2014

Dear Friends,

Including today, Tuesday, there are only eight days remaining before we begin our "annual retreat," the season of Lent.  Perhaps Easter 2014 can have greater meaning if we do set aside some time during these pre-Ash Wednesday moments to look at ourselves and the way we interact with our God, our Church, our world, our communities, our families and most especially ourselves.  If we recognize a particular reality in our lives that creates some stress, confusion, frustration, isolation, anger or even violence, Lent is an opportunity to bring about order to the complexity brought about by our society and its times.  Let the candle above be a reminder to look into our selves in a overview mode.  Hopefully there you might see what Lent can be for you.

In his first major sharing of his vision for the Church, Pope Francis extended an invitation to look at our Church and ourselves in the chaos that can be found in many of our lives: the chaos brought about by the above mentioned complexity.  Evangelium Gaudium, the official title of the Apostolic Exhortation (as it is formally titled but translated into English as The Joy of the Gospel, and abbreviated as EG).  What follows are several thoughts from Pope Francis that might give each of us, myself included, some initial direction for us to consider during these eight days so that we might begin to bring about some order in our lives.  If you find yourself saying to yourself "I just don't have time any long to ...," or if you find yourself saying to others "I cannot find the time I need to ...," there is need to grapple with the complexity that brings chaos into our lives.

These are the words of Pope Francis, our first Jesuit pope (Deo gratias!!!), that can serve all of us as we walk towards Ash Wednesday:

"Now is the time to say to Jesus: 'Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you.  Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace.'" [EG, paragraph 3]

We have an instrument, a way of life, that is "radiant with the glory of Christ's cross."  It is the Gospel that "constantly invites us to rejoice." [EG para. 5]

Let us use these eight preparatory days for making ready our hearts and minds for Ash Wednesday and the subsequent days of Lent that will bring us back to the joy of the gospel life.

Oremus pro invicem!

From the Hermitage,

Fr. Milt