A Message from the Bishop – A faith journey that begins NOW

A Message from the Bishop – A faith journey that begins NOW

bishopashes-webBishop Dennis Sullivan and Father Robert E. Hughes, vicar general, distribute ashes at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Camden, on Ash Wednesday.

Photo by James A. McBride

In his message for this Lent 2014 our Holy Father Pope Francis refers to the days of Lent as a journey. “I likewise pray that each individual member of the faithful and every church community will undertake a fruitful journey.” All journeys have a beginning and an ending. The journey of Lent 2014 begins NOW.
On Ash Wednesday the Apostle Paul reminded us, “Now is a very acceptable time. Now is the day of salvation” (2Cor.5:8).
Let that NOW begin for you this Lent. Do not put off the journey nor excuse yourself from it. The journey will last for 40 days in imitation of the 40 years God’s people wandered in the desert; in homage to the 40 days and nights that the Lord Jesus spent in the wilderness. Begin the journey. It will end on Wednesday of Holy Week April 16th.
Things happen during every journey. It is the same for the Lenten journey. Things happen to us so that we grow in Christ; so that we become more like Him. What happens depends on the seeds that are planted during the journey so that Lent may be, in the words of the Holy Father, ” fruitful.” We are guided by prayer, penance and charity. These map the way. These are what need to be planted in us so that they may sprout and grow.
Everyone of us can be involved in this work during Lent so that our journeys will be fruitful. The Church obliges those between the ages of 14 and 59. However, even those not obliged can get on the journey and plant the seeds of charity, penance and prayer.
The command of the prophet Joel proclaimed on Ash Wednesday is directed at all of us. “Gather the people, Assemble the elders; Gather the children and the infants; the bride and bridegroom.” All of us can give up things. Things we enjoy. We give them up. We deny ourselves in order to realize that we need more of God in our lives. We give up in order to give more to God. Sacrifices can be made by each of us in some form or another.
Our sacrifices identify with the sacrifice of the Lord for our salvation on the Cross. Penance or sacrifices, giving up, guide the journey and they can produce much fruit for our lives in Christ. Penance gives to God. Charity gives to others. Penance and sacrificing are about letting go of self and sin and giving up. Charity is about letting in God and the least among us who benefit from our charity and also from our sacrifices.
The Lenten journey is a grace-filled journey in which Christ is meeting us at every twist and turn as prayer, penance and charity direct us to Him. We need this journey. I encourage you to travel this way of Lent 2014.

Categories: Latest News

About Author