Bishop's Lenten Message

Dear People of the Diocese,

This coming Wednesday we will once again begin the liturgical season of Lent. Pope Benedict XVI, in his Lenten message for this Year of Faith*, offers some thoughts on the close relationship between faith and charity, writing: “Lent invites us, through the traditional practises of the Christian Life, to nourish our faith by careful and extended listening to the word of God and by receiving the sacraments, and at the same time to grow in charity and in love of God and neighbour, not least through the specific practices of fasting, penance and almsgiving.

In this Sunday’s scriptures we have just heard of how the prophet Isaiah and the apostle Peter are nourished in their faith and called forth to ministry, Isaiah through a vision and Peter through accepting to allow Jesus to use his boat as a pulpit. It is interesting to note how their encounter with God’s greatness leads them to acknowledge their unworthiness, Isaiah crying out: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, …” and Peter imploring: “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” In each case their confession of unworthiness leads, not to punishment or damnation, but to service as God’s prophet and “fisher of men”. Their experiences reflect well what Pope Benedict states in his Lenten message: “The Christian life consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with God’s own love.”

Lent is an excellent time for us to commit ourselves:

1. to a regular daily time of prayer, like Isaiah and Peter, giving God the space and time to manifest himself to us;

2. to receive the sacrament of confession, like Isaiah and Peter, admitting our sinfulness to God and opening ourselves to His loving forgiveness;

3. to offer God our loving service as his prophets and disciples, in the way we live, treat others and share our resources with those who are in need.To commit ourselves to such tasks is truly to open ourselves to the love and peace that God wishes to give to all of his people.

Praying that our Lent in this Year of Faith will be one in which we, like Isaiah and Peter before us, will come to more fully know and live God’s love, I remain,

 

Sincerely yours in Christ,

 

+Peter Hundt, Bishop of Corner Brook and Labrador.