Pastor’s Letter: Ash Wednesday 2021
My brothers and sisters, today, as we begin the holy season of Lent — the season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, I would like to invite you to meditate on the writings of Fr. Louis Bouyer, a French priest and Theologian. His reflections remind us why it is so important to participate in these penitential practices:
“What all asceticism aims at is the destruction of the obsessive concentration on self, caused by sin. It aims at letting us be seized, invaded, and carried away by the generosity of God’s life, the life which is love… It is the conflict between this love and the tendency in all of us which has caused our own flesh, and the world within us, to curve inwards. It is this tendency that is sin, that brought death into the world and all the pangs leading up to it. But God only allowed his work to be damaged like this because he knew how to find the remedy…”
“Asceticism in all its forms has therefore no other purpose but that of leading us to abandon ourselves in everything, through faith, to the love of God… It only seems to break us in order to raise us up and open our hearts… In everything, the Christian life will be marked by a continually expanding rhythm, that moves from ever renewed discoveries to ever deeper renunciations… When in one sense the Christian no longer has anything, in another he has everything. But as long as he remains on earth, everything must continually be given up again, only to be found once more. The process must go on until we are ready for the total and definitive abandonment of death, that is, for the fullness of the resurrection.”
So, my brothers and sisters, to summarize: ascetical practices are meant to detach us not only from the world, but primarily ourselves, so that we can abandon ourselves to God and His Love. We need this Love more than ever. For this reason, I invite you to seriously consider (if you already have not) how you plan to pray, fast, and give alms during this Lenten period because these are indispensable means to grow in the spiritual life and love of God.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Arthur Marat
PS: Please look for our, once-weekly, LENT 2021 E-newsletter which will contain a Lenten Reflection video from Bishop Robert Barron plus reflections, prayer and additional content for the Season. The e-newsletter will be transmitted on Sunday afternoons during Lent, and is part of the Word On Fire Program.Tags: #ashwednesday, #frarthur, #frarthurmarat, #lent, #lent2021, #lent21, #olw, #olwparish