19/2/12 – Lent and the Apostle’s Creed

AshesThis Wednesday the Church enters once again into the season of Lent.  During the season of Lent, the catechumens (those preparing to belong to the Church) enter into the final period of purification and enlightenment.  The journey of these elect during Lent is marked by more intense spiritual preparation, interior reflection and penance.

For those of us already baptised, our observance of Lent is an opportunity to journey in solidarity with the elect.  We commit ourselves again to our baptismal calling.  Our works of prayer, fasting and almsgiving allow us to focus intently once again on our relationship with God; the same relationship upon which the elect are focused at this time.  As such, both baptism and penance characterise the Lenten season.

The new English translation of the Missal, which we began to use last year, now allows for either the Nicene or Apostle’s Creeds to be prayed for the Profession of Faith during Mass.  The Apostle’s Creed is recommended in the Missal for the seasons of Lent and Easter, due to its connection with baptism.  As such, we will pray the Apostle’s Creed at Mass during the seasons of Lent and Easter.

10/2/08 – “Giving Up” During Lent

What did you give up for Lent?

It’s a common question at the beginning of this liturgical season. Yet sometimes we can become preoccupied for forty days about what we won’t do again until Easter.

This doesn’t mean that we should not abstain from things of our choosing during Lent. We must, however, do so with a clear understanding of why we are doing so. The gospel reading for this First Sunday of Lent provides us with the example of Christ himself.

It’s a story we hear every year: Jesus retreats to the desert for forty days and is then tempted. Jesus’ purpose? To focus himself intently on how he will serve his Father. This is shown not only in the fact that this retreat precedes his public ministry, but also in the great commitment and resolve he shows against the devil.

So it must be when we engage in the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We do these things not simply for the sake of doing so, or because we believe others will think poorly of us if we don’t. Rather, we do so in order to remove the distractions that keep us from focussing intently on God and how we will be Christ to the world. By removing those distractions through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we create our own “desert”. Like Jesus, Elijah, and many others, this “desert” is a place where we step away from life’s temptations and allow God to speak to us.

It is such a retreat, a period of focussing intently on God that our catechumens also enter into during this Lenten season before their initiation. Please keep Mechelle in your prayers as she is elected by the Bishop and the Diocese to celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil. Don’t forget that all are welcome to come to the rite of election this Sunday, 10 February at 2:00 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

photo: Desert Leader