We have already begun the Lenten Season. Mother Church offers us these forty days of Lent so that we may celebrate Easter, with minds made pure, the great mystery of Christ’s resurrection. During this liturgical time, we embrace personal and communal disciplines. For instance, we go beyond the church’s request to fast just on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Some of us embrace this Lenten discipline more often. We are always careful to observe the church’s law of abstinence every Friday of Lent including Good Friday.
We are invited during this season of Lent to pray the Stations of the Cross either at home with the family or in the church with the community. This beautiful devotion helps us to enter more deeply into the mystery of Christ’s passion and death on the cross. The Sunday liturgy also reflects the spirit of Lent. We omit the Gloria, that beautiful hymn which invites us to celebrate the Holy Eucharist with great joy. We silence the bells all through Lent but we will ring them again at Easter. We conclude the Mass with a pray to St. Michael instead of the recessional hymn. There are no decorations or flowers in the Church. The liturgical color is violet.
Do we know the meaning; do we know the purpose of why we embrace these Lenten practices? We were given the answer through the liturgy of Ash Wednesday: so that we may turn away from harmful pleasures and may become worthy to celebrate the passion of Christ; so that we may enter into a spirit of compunction. The Lenten season is a time through which we are called to make a spiritual journey of humility and repentance. It is during this time that we are exhorted to recognize our sins and seek God’s mercy. I hope that every one of us takes the time to approach the Sacrament of Confession at least once during this Lenten Season.
I wish you a holy Lenten season.
Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.