This year the season of Lent begins on 22 February, a journey that will lead us to the Easter of Jesus, the central celebration of the whole Christian year.
During this time, let us try to prepare for this celebration by relating more to God (praying more), fasting from all that hinders us from growing as Christians and giving alms, not just giving money but giving ourselves in service and self-giving.
“We commit ourselves to take time daily to welcome the Word in our hearts, in the rhythm of the Liturgical Year, and to proclaim it with unction in our pastoral services” (QC 53). The XXVI General Chapter invites us to join in this blessed practice, or rather to intensify it, as an important component of the Congregation’s Dream.
As Fr. Henry B. Omonisaye CMF, General Prefect of Biblical Pastoral Ministry and Communications, reminds us in his Lenten letter to all Claretian sisters and brothers:
The season of Lent can offer us the possibility of a greater commitment to this dimension of the Dream. In his message for Lent this year, Pope Francis, drawing inspiration from the stories of the Transfiguration of the Lord, highlights two important practices to which we might commit ourselves during Lent: (i) listening to the Lord who speaks to us, and (ii) avoiding taking refuge in certain religious experiences for fear of facing the realities of life.
If we daily read attentively the Word of God through which the Word speaks to us, we can practice the listening to which the Pope invites us. This is very much in tune with the call of our Chapter and its exhortation that we live rooted in Christ as listeners and servants of the Word. We are fortunate to be able to celebrate the Eucharist daily and to listen to the word proclaimed to us. Here are some simple practices that we can make our own in this key of listening:
- Read attentively the text that the liturgy offers the following day.
- Intensify the practice of the weekly lectio divina in community.
- Share the word of God with the people of God.
We could carry out these practices, and include them in our pastoral plan for the Lenten season. In the Pope’s message there is another element, also related to listening, which evokes our Dream: we are sent to make this Word known to others (…) Today there are many people who do not have the opportunity to attend Mass – or do not want to – but have access to the internet. We can reach these brothers and sisters of ours on the digital continent. Let us be among those who bring the Word to many people who cannot go to church, but can surf the internet. This is a way of becoming cyber-missionaries (cf. QC 72c), taking into account the criteria that help to prepare the contents well and to present the Word with remarkable quality in a simple, understandable and daring way.
We wish you a happy and fruitful Lenten season, accompanied by the grace of attentive listening to the Word. “Listen to him” (Mt 17:5).
Pope Francis’ message for Lent 2023